Standing up to the NRA
Washington, March 11, 2021
Tags: Gun Violence Prevention
No student should be afraid to go to school, and no parent should fear their child may never come home. For years, Congress has failed to pass meaningful legislation that would prevent gun violence. This inaction is traumatizing an entire generation.
It’s past time we stand up to the gun lobby.
Today, I joined my House colleagues in passing legislation that would curb gun violence and make our communities safer for all. H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, would close a loophole that enables felons and domestic abusers to purchase firearms. In America today, a convicted felon can buy guns online, at gun shows, or from an unlicensed dealer without ever being subject to a background check. This is unacceptable and dangerous.
The benefits of background checks cannot be overstated. Since their implementation in 1994, background checks have prevented over 3 million illegal gun sales. There’s no doubt that background checks keep us safe: 80 percent of guns used in crimes are obtained through unlicensed sellers who don’t conduct background checks. These numbers are shocking—and we can’t forget that statistics about gun violence represent real lives.
In 2015, a self-proclaimed white supremacist with a history of illegal drug possession was able to buy a gun because his background check didn’t come back quickly enough. He proceeded to murder nine Black parishioners at a bible study. The killer took advantage of a flaw in our gun safety laws known as the Charleston Loophole. In short, the loophole allows gun sales to proceed if background checks aren’t completed within three days.
In addition to passing H.R. 8 today, the House advanced H.R. 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks of 2021, to finally close the Charleston loophole. The legislation includes my bipartisan proposal to require the study of how gun violence interacts with domestic violence, as domestic abusers often exploit the Charleston loophole to purchase firearms. We need to study problems to solve them, and I’m eager to dive into data about the relationship between gun violence and domestic violence so we can amend the background check process accordingly.
I first introduced this measure as an amendment in January 2019, and it passed without a single objection from Republicans or Democrats. The House of Representatives passed both of these bills last Congress, but they stalled on arrival in the Senate. I am hopeful that this time around, our Senators will pass this critical, commonsense legislation so that it may finally be signed into law.
Keeping our communities safe is at the heart of Orange County values, so I’m proud the House passed H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446 today. As a member of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, I’ll keep working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to promote gun safety. To stay up to date on how I’m representing you and California’s 45th District, please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @RepKatiePorter.
Very truly yours,
Member of Congress