On Tuesday, back in control of the House of Representatives, Democrats introduced a bill that would expand background checks in the sale or transfer of ownership of firearms. The bill, titled the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019,” was introduced on the eighth anniversary of the Tucson shooting in which six people were killed and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was one of over a dozen people injured.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) blustered, “Today is a day of action. We say, enough is enough.” Giffords echoed, “Stopping gun violence takes courage, the courage to do what’s right, the courage of new ideas. I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line. Now is the time to come together, be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, everyone. We must never stop fighting. Fight, fight, fight.”
According to NBC News, “The bill would require individuals who are not licensed gun dealers to bring the weapon to an authorized vendor to conduct background checks of prospective purchasers. The requirement would also apply to background checks for the sale or ‘transfer’ of guns between family and friends.”
Forty Democratic senators also reintroduced a bill called the Background Check Expansion Act on Tuesday. The Senate bill would require background checks for the sale or transfer of all firearms. The bill states that exceptions include:
a law enforcement agency or any law enforcement officer, armed private security professional, or member of the armed forces, to the extent the officer, professional, or member is acting within the course and scope of employment and official duties;
a transfer that is a loan or bona fide gift between spouses, between domestic partners, between parents and their children, between siblings, between aunts or uncles and their nieces or nephews, or between grandparents and their grandchildren;
a transfer to an executor, administrator, trustee, or personal representative of an estate or a trust that occurs by operation of law upon the death of another person:
a temporary transfer that is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, if the possession by the transferee lasts only as long as immediately necessary to prevent the imminent death or great bodily harm;
a transfer that is approved by the Attorney General under section 5812 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or
a temporary transfer if the transferor has no reason to believe that the transferee will use or intends to use the firearm in a crime or is prohibited from possessing firearms under State or Federal law, and the transfer takes place and the transferee’s possession of the firearm is exclusively at a shooting range or in a shooting gallery or other area designated for the purpose of target shooting, or while reasonably necessary for the purposes of hunting, trapping, or fishing, if the transferor has no reason to believe that the transferee intends to use the firearm in a place where it is illegal and has reason to believe that the transferee will comply with all licensing and permit requirements for such hunting, trapping, or fishing; or while in the presence of the transferor.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) commented, “Support for universal background checks is nearly unanimous among Americans these days, with 97 percent of Americans supporting required background checks on all gun sales—including 97 percent of gun owners. This number is absolutely overwhelming. It’s time for Republicans to join with Democrats and nearly all Americans in support of universal background checks.”
Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) echoed, “Support for universal background checks is nearly unanimous among Americans these days, with 97 percent of Americans supporting required background checks on all gun sales—including 97 percent of gun owners. This number is absolutely overwhelming. It’s time for Republicans to join with Democrats and nearly all Americans in support of universal background checks.” She added, “It’s just common sense that if you can’t pass a background check, you shouldn’t be able to purchase a firearm—and the vast majority of Americans know it. How many lives must be taken before Congress finally says, ‘enough is enough?’ In the wake of so many tragedies, it’s past time Congress acted on this common-sense solution to help keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists, criminals and those who are dangerous to others and to themselves.”