In-Depth: Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to require background checks on all firearm sales:
“Since the inception of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force after the shooting at Sandy Hook, we have been working across the aisle to help prevent gun violence. Today we take a decisive step forward to help save lives right away. As a gun owner, hunter and supporter of the Second Amendment, I am honored to join with Democratic and Republican colleagues to introduce my universal background checks bill that will help keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. From the public polling to the ballot box, the American people have spoken up and demanded action to help end the tragedy of gun violence that far too many in our country face every day. We will continue our fight and we will deliver.”
Original cosponsor Rep. Pete King (R-NY) added:
"There is no single law that can put an end to mass shootings or gun violence, but there are certainly proactive steps we can take to keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill. When background checks are used, they keep guns out of the hands of people we all agree shouldn’t have guns. As government officials it is our responsibility to protect our citizens, and when it comes to gun violence we must do more. The overwhelming majority of Americans want to see action, and we owe it to the victims and their families to prevent such tragedies from occurring again.”
In the previous Congress, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) introduced this legislation to close the procedural loophole that allowed the Charleston shooter to murder nine people in June 2015:
“The Background Check Completion Act will guarantee that no gun is sold by a licensed dealer until a background check is completed. Tragically, the Charleston shooter was allowed to purchase a gun even though the FBI had not completed his background check. This should never be acceptable. My bill is a commonsense fix to our nation’s gun laws, and I call on my colleagues in Congress to move it immediately towards passage.”
Opponents of this legislation have pointed out that under current law even if the unlicensed buyer takes possession of the gun after three days, the Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to resolve the background check for up to 90 days. If it turns out that the buyer should’ve been prohibited by the background check and the gun was transferred, the ATF is notified and steps are taken to confiscate the weapon and potentially prosecute the buyer.
In the current Congress, this bill has the support of 232 bipartisan cosponsors, including 227 Democrats and five Republicans. The House Judiciary Committee passed this bill on a 23-15 vote that was mostly along party-lines.
In the previous Congress, this bill had 103 cosponsors in the House, all of whom were Democrats.
Media:Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / K_E_N)