The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bipartisan bill requiring background checks on every gun purchase, including at gun shows and on the internet. This is the first major gun bill to pass in a generation.
The new Democratic House majority, the renewed energy and enthusiasm from youth activists after the Parkland shooting, and the organizing of groups like Moms Demand Action helped contribute to the historic moment. With the vast majority of the American public — over 90% — in support of universal background checks, many feel that it’s been a long time coming for this common-sense legislation.
"When it looked like the gun lobby would forever silence any debate on stronger gun laws, courage shone through. Courage embodied by relentless advocates and resilient survivors, and exemplified by leaders who ran for office and won on the promise to fight for a safer future," tweeted Gabby Giffords, the anti-gun violence advocate and former representative from Arizona who famously survived an gun assassination attempt in 2011. She added that unfortunately we’ve waited too long for this progress and many lives have already been lost.
"Today’s victory in the House is a critical first step toward stronger gun laws that will save lives. The responsibility to take the next step now shifts to the Senate," she added. The bill faces an uphill battle in a Republican-controlled Senate, and President Trump has promised to veto it.
The bill has been an especially long time coming for Georgia Rep. and gun reform activist Lucy McBath, whose 17-year-old son Jordan, who was unarmed, was gunned down for playing rap music in his car in 2012. "After my son’s death, I dedicated my entire life to advocating for common-sense gun safety solutions, but it was the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that finally motivated me to join this legislative body," McBath said in her testimony on the bill. "The overwhelming bipartisan support for universal background checks symbolizes the power of advocacy and the incredible power of the survivors family members and students who have shared their stories. … H.R. 8 will ensure that mothers and fathers have one less reason to worry."
Today is a historic day. Former @momsdemand spokesperson & current Congresswoman @RepLucyMcBath speaks in favor of #HR8 to #UpdateBackgroundChecks in honor of her son & all of those impacted by gun violence in America. #WearOrange #KeepGoing #EndGunViolence #NeverAgain #enough pic.twitter.com/FEJzJIwjE5
— Becky Morgan (@BeckyJMorgan) February 27, 2019
Over 100 Moms Demand Action volunteers showed up in D.C. to stand strong in support of the bill. "It was amazing to look up to the gallery and see a sea of moms in red!" tweeted Illinois Rep. Lauren Underwood, another freshman member of Congress.
I joined 100+ @MomsDemand volunteers in DC today to support the House vote for #HR8. Many of the lawmakers who testified for the background checks bill gave us shout outs for working on this bill since the Sandy Hook shooting. And we’ll keep going until it passes. #EndGunViolence pic.twitter.com/TYmJzRTMCq
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) February 27, 2019
— Matt Ramirez (@MatheoRam) February 27, 2019
Another background checks measure, on which the House is voting Thursday, would close the so-called Charleston loophole, which allows someone to buy a firearm if the background check is not completed within three days. It’s this loophole that allowed white supremacist Dylann Roof to buy the weapon with which he murdered nine people at a church in Charleston, SC, in 2015.
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Source: Refinery29 – Natalie Gontcharova