Peter Welch on Gun Control
H.R.8: To require a background check for every firearm sale. This Act may be cited as the "Background Check Expansion Act".
Opposing argument from the Heritage Foundation, 2/26/2019: Heritage Action opposes the Bipartisan Background Checks Act (H.R. 8) and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard. This legislation would require universal background checks for all firearm sales (even private) with specific exceptions. Unfortunately, universal background checks would do little to prevent firearm violence and would instead make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase, own, carry, and use a firearm. Studies show that universal background checks are largely ineffective when it comes to preventing mass shootings. In addition, most people imprisoned for firearm-related crimes access their firearms illegally through theft, the underground market, family members, or friends. H.R. 8 is poorly written and makes criminals out of many law-abiding Americans who commonly make low-risk firearm transfers.
Legislative outcome Roll call 99 in House on 2/27/2019 passed 240-190-2; introduced in Senate 1/8/2019; no action as of 3/28/2020.
H.R.8 - Bipartisan Background Checks Act: This bill establishes new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties (i.e., unlicensed individuals). Specifically, it prohibits a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check. The prohibition does not apply to gifts between spouses in good faith.
Heritage Action opinion to vote NO (Feb. 26, 2019): This legislation would require universal background checks for all firearm sales (even private). Unfortunately, universal background checks would do little to prevent firearm violence and would instead make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase, own, carry, and use a firearm. Studies show that universal background checks are largely ineffective when it comes to preventing mass shootings. In 19 of the most recent high-profile cases, the shooters bought their firearms legally and passed all the required background checks.
White House Statement (Biden's opinion to vote YES): Gun violence is a public health crisis. Every day, gun violence--community violence, domestic violence, suicides, and mass shootings--takes American lives and forever alters many more. Last year, we saw record levels of homicides in cities throughout our country. The Federal gun background check system is a proven tool to reduce gun violence and save lives. This system, called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, has kept millions of guns out of potentially dangerous hands. The Administration encourages closing existing loopholes in this system [such as private transfers in H.R. 8].
Legislative Outcome: Passed House 227-203-1 on 03/11/2021 (rollcall #75); introduced in Senate with 36 co-sponsors; no further Senate action during 2021.
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