Washington, D.C. — One year ago, the House of Representatives passed two crucial gun violence prevention bills: 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. On the one year anniversary of the passage of this legislation, Neera Tanden, CEO and President of the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
One of the first priorities of the new House Democratic majority at the beginning of the 116th Congress was to pass legislation to address one of the most dangerous gaps in our nation’s gun laws that allow guns to change hands without a background check and with no questions asked.
One year ago, under the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), the House wasted no time passing this crucial legislation with a bipartisan vote. One day later, the House passed another bill to further strengthen the background check system by minimizing the risk of guns being sold before a background check can be completed—the gap in the law that allowed the perpetrator of the deadly attack on the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015 to purchase his gun.
Despite overwhelming support for these measures by voters across the political spectrum and an unrelenting call for action throughout the past year, the Senate has abrogated its responsibility to consider these bills. While American families and entire communities are devastated every day by gun violence, the Senate—under the leadership of Mitch McConnell (R-KY)—has sat on its hands and refused to even hold a hearing to debate these bills, much less put them to a vote.
This is more than a political game; an average of 100 people die by gun violence in this country every day at rates that far outpace our peers in other high-income nations. It is far past time for the Senate to take this issue seriously—its continuing failure to do so is a national shame.
To mark the anniversary of the House passage of these bills, CAP released a series of short videos highlighting the stories of individuals whose families have been devastated by gun violence and celebrating their strength and resilience in turning their grief into action.
Watch the video series: “Why I Fight To End Gun Violence”
For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Adam Peck at gro.ssergorpnacirema@kcepa or 202.741.6363.