Democrats Propose Bill to Strengthen Background Checks on Firearm Sales


Nicholas Kamm

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds a press conference with former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Democratic Representative from California Mike Thompson to introduce legislation on expanding background checks for gun sales at the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 8, 2019.” MSN News

Jasmeen Rivera, Reporter

The House Democrats proposed a new legislation Tuesday, January 8th, involving the reinforcement of background checks pertaining to firearm sales and transfers. The bill is among the first measures taken by the newly elected Democratic body to make gun control a top priority with the support of a bipartisan party.

The new law will involve all sellers to require stricter background checks, even private sellers not federally licensed who previously did not require such a process. “The background check requirement for firearms sales in current federal law is riddled with loopholes that make it far too easy for dangerous people to get guns. It is time we expand these checks to include all gun sales,” explains House Judiciary Committee Chairmen Jerry Nadler.

The proposal has accumulated the support of five House Republicans, a rare attainment on such a controversial issue. Another partaker involved is former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head at a constituent event in Tuscan, Arizona. Six people were fatally shot, while fifteen were injured. “We are blessed to be with survivors of that attack and survivors of so many other acts of gun violence today. But today is also a day of action,” states House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in regards to the shooting. Giffords joined the floor Tuesdsay in remembrance of the victims, as Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick read off the names of those who suffered in the attack.

Gun control has been called to the table since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2015, where twenty children and six teachers were fatally shot on campus by 20-year-old Adam Lanza. Since then, the United States have been flooded time and time again with unfortunate tragedies where firearms have been involved; this includes, the Las Vegas massacre, the Orlando nightclub shooting, and the Stoneman Douglass shooting.

“The folks running at least one of the houses in Congress know that in the face of nearly 40,000 people dying from gun violence each year, that we can no longer sit idly by and let that go on as if it doesn’t matter,” presented the executive director for Gifford, Peter Ambler; however, Jennifer Baker, director of public affairs for the National Rifle Association (NRA), opposed the idea, declaring that “universal background checks” will prove ineffective because “criminals do not comply with the law.”  Sen. Richard Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) disagreed with the statement made by Baker, saying, “We must have a standard background check,” he countered, “No background check, no sale.”

Decisions and ideas are still being put on the table, as the government shutdown begins to go into its third week and Congress focuses on various topics throughout this crucial time.