What is the Gun Safety Legislation Working Its Way Through Congress?

Image via Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Want to hear a shocking statistic about gun legislation?

It’s been 25 years since the federal government has enacted a gun safety law. 25 years! (source) Now thankfully, due to grassroots efforts by groups like Moms Demand Action and others, there has been gun laws passed in the states and local communities.

Enter HR8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act which the House just passed last week. All but one Democrat voted for it, and 8 Republicans crossed the aisle to vote Yes. (3 of them are co-sponsors of the bill.) This same bill passed in the last Congress, but it died in McConnell’s Senate. (It was called a “legislative graveyard” for a reason.)

What the bill does is create a universal background check requirement, thereby closing the loophole that lets people buy guns at gun shows, on the internet, and in private sales without having to go through a background check.

The issue of background checks is INCREDIBLY popular with Americans. Recent polls have shown that anywhere between 92-93% of Americans favor universal background checks. Breaking down those polls a bit more, the issue received “strong” support from 64% of Republicans and 67% of gun owners! (source)

But here’s where the rubber hits the road. For all its popularity across the country, including with gun owners and Republican voters, it is NOT popular with Republican politicians. It’s yet another instance when elected Republicans in Congress are wildly out of step with their own voters.

Can this pass in the Senate? Well, if we are successful in getting rid of the filibuster, then yes, we can. If the filibuster only gets reformed, it’ll depend on how it gets reformed. If the filibuster remains in place, can we get 10 Republican Senators to vote for this bill? It seems like a high bar. Joe Manchin famously worked with GOP Senator Pat Toomey back in 2013 on a background check amendment, (that died due to a filibuster by McConnell), so it appears at least Toomey could be a vote in favor.

What you can do

It’s time to contact your Senators again.

No matter what party your Senators belong to, start by asking them to pass this bill. Cite the statistic that 92-93% of Americans favor universal background checks. If they are Republicans, include the statistic that nearly 65% of Republican voters and gun owners are strongly behind this legislation.

And while you’re on the phone (or emailing them), be sure to remind them that you want them to pass the For The People Act (HR1/S1) and encourage them to abolish or reform the filibuster to pass it!

Also, if gun safety is a top issue for you, consider signing up for email updates from Moms Demand Action or Giffords.

Thanks for taking action!

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2 replies

  1. Tokyo, that is twenty-five years worth of “now is not the time to discuss new gun laws.” That is also a lot more unneeded “thoughts and prayers.” Weak-kneed politicians. Keith

    • It’s shocking that our federal officials haven’t been able to do a thing regarding gun safety in all that time. Of course, now the NRA is a shell of what it once was. I hope this bottleneck can finally be broken.

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