Congressional Democrats reintroduced legislation Tuesday to expand federal background checks on all gun sales.
The Background Check Expansion Act would require unlicensed or private sellers to conduct a background check before transferring a firearm, which is not currently required by federal law.
Sen. Chris Murphy reintroduced the legislation in the Senate.
“Joe Biden and hundreds of congressional candidates from both parties ran on the issue of background checks. This is the year to get this bill passed into law,” the Connecticut Democrat said in a statement.
“And this legislation has the chance to bring this country together — even 85 percent of gun owners believe in expanding background checks, and a growing anti-gun violence movement, made up of both Democrats and Republicans, is demanding change.”
The legislation, which is co-sponsored by 43 Senate Democrats, was first introduced in the House in January 2019 and passed in February 2019, but it did not receive votes in the Republican-controlled Senate, according to The Hill.
Background checks would be required for sales online, at gun shows and out of homes.
“Exceptions would include transfers between law enforcement officers, loaning firearms for hunting, gifting to immediate family members, inheritance transfers and temporary transfers for immediate self-defense,” The Hill reported.
Eight House Republicans sided with Democrats when the bill was first introduced in 2019, according to The Hill.
Rep. Mike Thompson, chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, reintroduced the bill in the House on Tuesday.
“The last two years have been a turning point in our longstanding fight to help prevent gun violence and we take another leap forward in helping to save lives. Joined by Democrats and Republicans, we introduce the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 to help keep guns out of the hands of those who may be a danger to themselves or others,” the California Democrat said in a statement.
“Time and time again, we have seen that the American people want universal background checks, in fact public polling shows that the majority of people, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, support this. We began our work to combat the scourge of gun violence eight years ago after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and will not stop until we deliver for the American people.”
President Joe Biden called for Congress to “enact commonsense gun law reforms” on the third anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
These reforms included “requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”
Although the legislation is likely to pass the Democrat-controlled House, Senate Democrats need to be joined by at least 10 Republicans.
“Ending the epidemic gun violence starts with meaningful and commonsense reforms. This legislation will take the long-overdue step of closing dangerous loopholes in the existing background check system to help keep all of our communities safe,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday.
“For years, this bipartisan House-passed background checks bill languished in the Senate under Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. Now, with Senate Democrats in the Majority, we have the opportunity to act on this overwhelmingly popular, lifesaving legislation to protect American communities.”
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