The Gun Reform Bill the Democrats Want to Pass in the Next Congress

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We know what legislation the Democrats will tackle first when they take over the House on January 3. But what else do they want to tackle in their first 100 days?

Earlier this month, we learned that the first bill the Democrats want to introduce in the 116th Congress will tackle voting rights, (yeah!!), and now we know that next up will be legislation to get universal background checks on gun purchases.

You might ask, don’t we already have background checks on gun purchases? Federal law does require that licensed gun dealers run background checks on people purchasing firearms. But there is a loophole. If you buy your gun privately or through an unlicensed dealer, you won’t have to get a background check. According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, approximately 22% of gun owners got their most recent firearm without a background check.

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The legislation the Democrats will introduce in the new year would close that loophole and require federal background checks for ALL gun purchases, including private transactions.

Nancy Pelosi: “The new Democratic majority will act boldly and decisively to pass commonsense, life-saving background checks that are overwhelmingly supported by the American people.”

When Pelosi says “overwhelmingly,” she’s not kidding. A Quinnipiac poll conducted earlier this year found that among all Americans, 97% supported background checks. And gun owners? They also support it at 97%.

Now, while we know the Democrats can pass this bill once they take over the House, it would still have to pass the Senate, and then get signed by Trump to become a law. In our divided times, this seems unlikely. But it is still important that the Democrats take these steps to introduce legislation, hold hearings on them, and then debate them so the American public can better understand the issue. It also shows Americans what the Democrats stand for, and in the two years leading up to the most important presidential election of the era, I say that’s gold.

It would also be especially meaningful if the legislation could pass on or before February 14, which will be the one year anniversary of the mass-shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

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Categories: Explainers

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