Today, in an historic vote, the House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 8), life-saving legislation to strengthen background checks and keep guns out of the hands of those who would use them to harm our children and communities. This is the first major gun violence legislation to pass the House in 25 years—and a powerful message that it’s time to protect children, not guns.
Every child should be guaranteed the right to live, learn and grow up safely, and expanding background checks is a critical first step. Under existing law, people prohibited from owning guns—including those convicted of violent crimes and domestic abuse—can bypass background check requirements and obtain guns from unlicensed dealers at gun shows or on the internet. This loophole currently enables 1 in 5 guns to be sold without a background check, making it easy for guns to get into the wrong hands. H.R. 8 and its companion bill in the Senate would close this dangerous loophole and extend background check requirements to all gun sales and most transfers.
The Senate now has an urgent opportunity and responsibility to bring the Background Check Expansion Act (S.42) to the floor and ensure universal background checks—which 97 percent of Americans support—become law. When nine children or teens are killed with guns each day in our nation, inaction is not an option. Let’s show our children they can count on us to protect them.