House Democrats will introduce their proposal to require universal backgrounds checks for gun sales on Tuesday, the eighth anniversary of former Rep. Gabby Gifford’s shooting, according Democratic lawmakers and aides.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mike Thompson (Calif.) — who heads up a Democratic task force on gun violence — will join Giffords in introducing the bill, which will be dubbed “H.R. 8” in honor of the Arizona Democratic lawmaker.
Giffords nearly died in the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting in Tucson, Arizona, which left six people dead and 15 wounded. She resigned from Congress in January 2012.
“Since the shooting at Sandy Hook, the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force has been fighting for a chance to pass legislation that will help save lives,” Thompson said in a statement. “Finally, with our new majority that ran on helping to prevent gun violence, we will introduce a bipartisan, universal background checks bill. We will hold hearings, we will have a vote, and this legislation will finally pass the House.”
“In communities across America, courageous survivors, families and young advocates are showing outstanding courage and persistence in demanding an end to the horrific scourge of gun violence in our nation,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement. “It is an honor to join Congressman Mike Thompson and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords to answer their call by taking the first step to pass commonsense background checks – which 97 percent of the American people support.”
Thompson said the bill would be bipartisan, but declined to reveal the GOP sponsors of the measure at this time.
The Democratic proposal would require federal background checks on all gun sales, including private transactions. There will be some small exemptions to those checks, such as transfers between family members, or temporary use of a gun for hunting. Gun-control groups estimate that roughly one-fifth or more of gun sales don’t include background checks.
Thompson, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and more than 200 other House lawmakers — including 14 Republicans — introduced similar legislation in November 2017, but it went nowhere.
But with a Democratic majority in the House now, passage of the bill is nearly guaranteed, and marks the first major congressional action on gun control in years.
However, Senate Republicans will almost certainly refuse to act on the bill, with support from the National Rifle Association for their position. And President Donald Trump closely aligned himself with the NRA and gun-rights groups during the last election.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
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