Washington, D.C. — Today, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives took another step toward enacting the most meaningful gun violence prevention legislation in decades. A bipartisan coalition on Thursday passed H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446, two bills that would, respectively, require background checks for private gun sales between individuals and address the so-called “Charleston loophole,” significantly reducing the risk of gun dealers selling firearms to individuals who have not passed a criminal background check.
Both pieces of legislation are important first steps toward curtailing the epidemic of gun violence in the United States. In response to their passage, Chelsea Parsons, vice president for Gun Violence Prevention at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
Today’s votes reaffirm what the American people have known for some time: Gun violence prevention measures are necessary and long overdue. The gaps in our existing gun laws are deadly, and leaving them unaddressed will only cause further trauma and harm in communities that have already suffered immeasurably from gun violence. Elected officials are duty-bound to keep their families, schools, and communities safe from deadly firearms, and each day without meaningful action represents another 106 lives lost to a bullet—and hundreds more upended by injury and trauma.
Roughly 85,000 Americans have been killed with a gun since Republicans in the Senate refused to even schedule a vote for this legislation in 2019, kowtowing to special interest groups and corporate allies at the expense of their own constituents’ lives. Their refusal to act led, in part, to the deadliest year on record for gun deaths in 2020. We cannot afford to wait another day, let alone another year, for lawmakers to prioritize American lives over the gun lobby. The Senate must swiftly take up and pass these bills and send them to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.
- “Frequently Asked Questions About Universal Background Checks”
- “Frequently Asked Questions About the ‘Charleston Loophole’”
For more information on CAP’s gun violence prevention work or to speak with an expert, please contact Adam Peck at gro.ssergorpnacirema@kcepa.