On January 8, 2019, former Congresswoman and gun violence survivor Gabby Giffords joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats for the introduction of H.R. 8, a bill to require universal background checks on private gun sales except those between immediate family members. On the eighth anniversary of the mass shooting in Tucson in which she was catastrophically injured, Abby urged legislators to “be bold, be courageous.”
The background checks bill has been co-sponsored by Democratic Congressman Mike Thompson from California and Republican Congressman Peter King of New York since 2013. Joining them to introduce H.R. 8 in the 116th Congress are Jerry Nadler (D-NY-10), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18), Brian Mast (R-FL-18), Robin Kelly (D-IL-2), Fred Upton (R-MI-6), Chris Smith (R-NJ-4), and gun violence survivor Lucy McBath (D-GA-06).
H.R. 8 is not perfect—it retains some language meant to appease the gun lobby—but it’s enactment would save many lives by putting a significant obstacle in the way of prohibited purchasers unable to complete a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). [Unfortunately, some violent Americans can pass NICS checks and will still be able to legally buy guns.]
Sending a clean universal background checks bill to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could generate real energy in the gun control movement and pressure him to act. That campaign starts with getting H.R. 8 a vote on the floor of the House.
Please call your U.S. Representative through the U.S. Capitol Hotline at (202) 224-3121 and give him/her the following message, personalized to your liking:
Please ask the Democratic leadership to bring H.R. 8, the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act,” to the floor of the House so you can vote to approve it. This is modest but good legislation that has been kept relatively clean by its primary sponsors, Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Peter King (R-NY). It would put significant obstacles in the way of federally prohibited persons attempting to buy guns (e.g., felons, those under active restraining orders, etc.) and save lives. But please ask leadership to remove language from H.R. 8 that says, “Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to authorize the establishment, directly or indirectly, of a national firearms registry.” Licensing & registration is a critical strategy to reduce gun violence and this gift provision for the NRA is entirely unnecessary. I want you to know gun control is DEFINITELY a voting issue for me as your constituent. I look forward to seeing your strong support for H.R. 8.
If you don’t know who your U.S. Representative is, or want a direct-dial number or website, click here:
Once you have contacted your Representative, fill out the three fields below and click the orange banner to report taking action!