UPDATE – The HOUSE just passed these bills. CALL YOUR SENATORS!
On March 6th, President Biden thanked the American public for making the American Rescue Plan possible. “You say, “Well, how do they make it possible?” Well, quite frankly, without the overwhelming bipartisan support of the American people, this would not have happened. Your elected officials heard you. Overwhelming public support — every public opinion poll shows overwhelming support for this plan. And for the last weeks, it’s shown that. Every public opinion poll shows the people want this, they believe it’s needed, and they believe it’s urgent.”
Well, when it comes to background checks for guns, we, the American public, are once again the main bipartisan support. 93 percent of American voters support requiring background checks on all gun sales, including 89 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of gun owners. To get the job done, however, we need to finally pass two related bills, both of which may be voted on in the House tomorrow.
- H.R. 8 – Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 requires all guns, with a few exceptions, to be sold from licensed dealers. The “Bipartisan” in the title is aspirational. Out of 210 total cosponsors for H.R.8, there are only 3 GOP cosponsors.
- H.R.1446 – Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 extends the background check time from 3 to 10 days to eliminate the “Charleston Loophole.” The name refers to the 2015 shooting of nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in Charleston, S.C., where Dylann Roof – who was prohibited by law from possessing a firearm – was able to acquire one under current federal law from the dealer after 3 days, before the FBI could complete his background check. Only 137 cosponsors have cosponsored this bill, all Democrats.
We expect both to pass the House, but thank your legislators anyway. (Rep-check here for HR. 8 and here for H.R.1446.) Reps. Brownley and Carbajal are signed onto both already. The problem will clearly occur in the Senate, so we also need to start calling our senators, and urging friends and family in RED states to call theirs.
NOTE: WE AREN’T THE ONLY ONES CALLING! Gun-owners AGAINST background checks are working the phones too.
Minimal script for a Representative cosponsor: I’m calling to thank Rep. [___] for cosponsoring and supporting H.R. 8 – Bipartisan Background Checks Act and H.R.1446 – Enhanced Background Checks Act
Minimal script for a Senator: I’m calling to tell Senator [___] that like the overwhelming majority of Americans from both parties, I want [him/her] to strongly support H.R. 8 – Bipartisan Background Checks Act and H.R.1446 – Enhanced Background Checks Act, which are expected to pass the House soon.
- Rep. Julia Brownley: email, (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
- or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email.(CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
- Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
- and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553,
LA (310) 231-4494,SAC (916) 448-2787 , Fresno (559) 497-5109,SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884(Updated contacts still in-progress.)
- Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com
(This video is from last year, but both bills died in McConnell’s Senate, so we’re right back at the beginning again.)
(Everytownresearch.org) Background checks are the foundation of any effective effort to reduce gun violence and keep guns out of the wrong hands. Since federal law began requiring these background checks in 1994, over 3.5 million sales to prohibited purchasers have been blocked.
This is how gun sales are supposed to work…
However, there are two big loopholes, and that’s what these bills address.
H.R. 8: Federal law does not address gun sales by unlicensed sellers (e.g., non-dealers who sell guns online or at gun shows). This loophole enables people with felony convictions, domestic abuse restraining orders, and/or prohibiting histories of mental illness to buy guns with no questions asked. 22 states and Washington, DC, have enacted laws that require background checks for all handgun sales at the point of sale and/or as part of a purchase permit. But this loophole still exists in 28 states.The bill, which would make it illegal for anyone but a federally licensed gun dealer to transfer a firearm without a background check, was taken up by the House Rules committee yesterday and is expected to go before the full House tomorrow. A similar measure passed the House in 2019 but was never taken up by the GOP-dominated Senate. The current iteration exempts relatives and transfers for the purposes of hunting, target shooting, and self-defense.
H.R.1446: H.R.1446 extends the gun background check investigation period to 10 days from three, closing the so-called “Charleston loophole” that allows gun dealers to transfer a firearm before a check is completed. “Currently, federal law allows a “default proceed” whereby a federally licensed firearm dealer (FFL) can transfer a gun to a customer if the federal background check is not completed within 3 business days of the background check request to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
- The vast majority of background checks initiated to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) result in an almost instant verdict.
- While 96 percent of background checks are processed within 3 business days, hundreds of thousands will enter default proceed status every year.
- That means hundreds of thousands of guns can be sold without completed background checks.
Though they account for a small percentage of overall sales, default proceed purchases can have deadly consequences, putting guns in the hands of convicted felons, domestic abusers, fugitives from justice, and other prohibited persons.
- Over 35,000 guns were transferred to prohibited purchasers between 2008 and 2017 because of the 3-day rule.
- Default proceed sales are eight times more likely to involve a prohibited purchaser than other background checks.
- According to a 2000 GAO report, an average of 25 business days elapse between an initial NICS inquiry and the date the system determined that the purchase should have been denied, and while a 2016 GAO report confirms that technological and reporting enhancements have improved system efficiency over the years, thousands of prohibited purchasers are still not determined until after the 3-day period.