Universal Background Checks on All Gun Sales & Charleston Loophole Pass U.S. House in Historic Win for Community Safety
Overwhelmingly popular policies pass the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, move to Senate
WASHINGTON (March 11, 2021) — Today, lawmakers in the House of Representatives took the first steps to enact the most significant pieces of gun violence prevention legislation in nearly three decades. The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 (H.R. 8) passed with a bipartisan vote of 227-203, and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 (H.R. 1446) passed with a vote of 219-210. Both bills — overwhelmingly supported by the American public — will keep communities safer by instituting universal background checks on private gun sales and address the “Charleston Loophole” to allow the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) more time to complete necessary background checks before completing gun sales.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Executive Director Josh Horwitz celebrated today’s House votes:
“Today is a historic day for gun violence prevention in America, as the House of Representatives votes to close the glaring loopholes in our National Instant Background Checks system and save American lives. H.R. 8 will correct a longstanding policy failure that allows individuals to buy a firearm in private sales without a background check. Background checks are the foundation of other gun violence prevention policies, and we look forward to more life-saving legislation from bills like these in the future.
“The House’s vote to address the Charleston Loophole by passing H.R. 1446 will save lives by expanding the waiting period for background checks on gun sales from three to 10 days. This would have prevented the shooter who murdered nine parishioners at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in a heinous hate crime, from legally purchasing a gun. The fact that in America a person can still buy a gun without a background check or an incomplete background check is a reminder that our federal gun laws are woefully inadequate and directly contribute to the ongoing epidemic of gun violence that kills nearly 40,000 Americans each year.
“The American people elected gun violence prevention champions and a new Senate majority to reflect their values. We are confident that Senate Majority Leader Schumer will take swift action to bring these life-saving measures up for a vote in the Senate. This is a defining moment for a generation of American children who have grown up with school lockdown drills as a regular part of their lives, for communities of color who bear a disproportionate toll of the gun violence epidemic, and for the quiet suicide crisis exacerbated by the availability of firearms. Americans are ready for action, and we eagerly anticipate seeing these historic bills signed into law.”
About the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Founded in 1974, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention organization. We believe gun violence should be rare and abnormal. CSGV develops and advocates for evidence-based solutions to reduce gun injury and death in all its forms.
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