Press Release

Giffords Applauds House Judiciary Committee Passage of Universal Background Check Bill

Committee also approved a measure to provide additional time to allow a background check to be completed before a firearm sale, addressing the “Charleston loophole”

February 13, 2019 — Giffords, the gun violence organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband Captain Mark Kelly, applauded the House Judiciary Committee for passing H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Bill of 2019, to require a background check on every gun sale or transfer. The committee also approved H.R. 1112the Enhanced Background Checks Act, which will provide additional time to allow a background check to be completed before a firearm sale. This is an important step towards addressing the “default proceed” provision in the background check system, also known as the “Charleston loophole.” The measures can now be considered by the full House of Representatives.

Statement from Peter Ambler, executive director of Giffords

“We should not be afraid to send our kids to school—or go to the office, or go to a movie, or take a walk—because of the threat of gun violence. But these are fears that too many Americans live with every day. And these are fears that too many politicians have ignored as they’ve taken campaign contributions from the gun lobby.

“But there’s good news: The days of watching the House of Representatives stay silent as Americans demand action on gun violence are over. This is a new era for Congress, with a new majority committed to our safety. These leaders understand that with over 100 Americans shot every day, we cannot wait. That’s why today they are sending H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112 to the House floor. That’s why they are responding to our gun violence epidemic, not only with thoughts and prayers, but with policy and action.

“We are proud to fight alongside champions like Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, Majority Whip Clyburn, and Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson to make it the law that when you buy a gun, you get a ‘completed’ background check. We look forward to seeing these bills pass with broad support in the weeks ahead. Then, the Senate needs to follow the House’s lead by quickly taking up these bills and sending them to the president’s desk. The time is now.”

Speaker Pelosi and Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson introduced the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 8) with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the opening days of the 116th Congress, and Majority Whip James Clyburn introduced the Enhanced Background Checks Act (H.R. 1112) last week.

The gun death rate in America has reached its highest level in nearly 40 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that in 2017 nearly 40,000 Americans died from gun violence, more than 100 Americans every day.

Since the introduction of the bill, momentum has been building for its passage. This morning, the Giffords Law Enforcement Coalition sent a letter to congressional leadership urging them to pass the lifesaving legislation. Signed by 15 law enforcement leaders from across the country, the letter illustrated the urgent need to close loopholes in America’s background checks system that endanger communities, including the thousands of law enforcement officials who put their lives on the line every day for our public safety.

Last week, Giffords Law Center Executive Director Robyn Thomas testified before the House Judiciary Committee urging swift passage of H.R. 8. Her testimony was part of Giffords’ efforts to push for immediate progress on two key gun safety priorities: passing background checks for every gun sale and funding Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research into the country’s epidemic of gun violence.

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