Washington, D.C. — This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two critical pieces of gun violence prevention legislation and is now sending those bills to the Senate. The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, or H.R. 8, will require universal background checks, and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019, or H.R. 1112, will address the so-called Charleston Loophole and minimize the risk of gun sales proceeding before a background check is completed. These pieces of legislation mark the first serious House action to address gun violence in more than a decade. Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement in response:
We applaud the House of Representatives for taking serious action to address the public health crisis of gun violence in our country. These long overdue measures will address some of the most dangerous gaps in our nation’s gun laws and send a strong signal to the American people that our elected leaders realize that gun violence is not inevitable—and that thoughts and prayers alone cannot achieve what smart policy and meaningful gun laws can.
This week’s votes also prove that bipartisan consensus on common-sense gun violence prevention legislation isn’t just a pipe dream—it’s a very real possibility. But let there be no doubt: While these measures are a critical first step to addressing gaps in our gun laws, much work remains to be done. Additionally, we are troubled by congressional Republican leadership playing political games by trying to conflate the need to address gun violence with immigration enforcement and continuing to demonize immigrant and mental health communities. We urge all members of Congress to resist such efforts.
Gun violence prevention is not a political imperative but a moral one, and it is now the Senate’s turn to follow the lead of the people’s House. The voters sent a very clear message in November that they will no longer accept inaction on this public health epidemic. We call on the Senate to take swift action on this crucial legislation to help make all of our communities safer.
For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Kyle Epstein at gro.ssergorpnacirema@nietspek or 202.481.8137.