Following the recent enactment of the Fix NICS Act and new legislative language allowing the CDC to conduct research on gun violence, Congress is now poised to move forward with another gun reform effort: the King-Thompson bill to expand background checks.
H.R. 4240, the bipartisan “Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2017,” was introduced by Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), the chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force in the House. The bill would require background checks on all private sales of firearms at gun shows. Other sales that are formally advertised (over the internet, through a classified ad in a newspaper, etc.) would also require a check. Finally, H.R. 4240 would provide new incentives for states to get disqualifying records (felons, domestic abusers, the severely mentally ill, etc.) into the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), and institute penalties for states that don’t.
[The King-Thompson bill does contain some unfortunate language barring the federal government from establishing a registry of gun buyers, but it can be easily repealed and is the only flaw in what is otherwise a clean piece of legislation.]
As of this writing, the King-Thompson bill has 207 co-sponsors (including 14 Republicans). If it reaches 218 co-sponsors, the two Congressmen can file a discharge petition to force House Speaker Paul Ryan to bring H.R. 4240 to the floor of the House for a vote!
Please call your U.S. Representative through the U.S. Capitol Hotline at (202) 224-3121 and give him/her the following message:
If you have not already co-sponsored H.R. 4240, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, please do so immediately. This legislation would require private sellers to conduct background checks at gun shows and for any other sale they formally advertise (through the internet, via a classified ad in a newspaper, etc.). H.R. 4240 would also introduce additional carrot/stick incentives to encourage states to submit disqualifying records to the FBI’s NICS database. While not perfect (certain minor provisions have been retained in the bill to mollify the NRA), H.R. 4240 is an important step forward. By stopping violent individuals from obtaining firearms at the point of purchase, this legislation would save many lives. If you have already co-sponsored H.R. 4240, then please lobby your colleagues to do so as well! The bill now has more than 205 co-sponsors and is very close to moving to the floor of the House for a vote via discharge petition (218 is magic number).
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