Washington, D.C. –Today House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), along with original cosponsors Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Lucy McBath (D-GA), announced the introduction of the H.R. 8, Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021. This landmark gun violence prevention legislation requires background checks on all firearm sales. You can click here to read bill text and here for a section by section.
“The last two years have been a turning point in our longstanding fight to help prevent gun violence and we take another leap forward in helping to save lives. Joined by Democrats and Republicans, we introduce the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 to help keep guns out of the hands of those who may be a danger to themselves or others,” said Chairman Thompson. “Time and time again, we have seen that the American people want universal background checks, in fact public polling shows that the majority of people, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, support this. We began our work to combat the scourge of gun violence eight years ago after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and will not stop until we deliver for the American people.”
“I am proud to support the Bipartisan Background Checks Act to extend the firearms background check requirement so that we can help keep guns out of the hands of felons and others who are legally prohibited from possessing them. No longer should those who are prohibited from owning a gun use gaps in the law like the online sale loophole and the gun show loophole to obtain these weapons,” said Chairman Nadler. “This bipartisan bill has the overwhelming support of the American people and it is time that we enact these critical improvements to our law so that we save lives. I thank Rep. Thompson for his leadership in advancing this legislation and look forward to supporting its passage.”
“Every day, the epidemic of gun violence shatters lives in countless communities across the country,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “With Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson’s reintroduction of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, the Democratic House is continuing its urgent action to end the epidemic. Guided by the voices of millions of young people marching for their lives and aided by the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, the Democratic Congress will continue our work to ensure H.R. 8 and other life-saving gun violence prevention measures are finally enacted into law. Enough is enough.”
“Background checks are simple, easy, and they save lives. That's why more than 90 percent of Americans support our legislation to make sure no guns are sold in this country without a check,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), who introduced the companion Senate bill. “Joe Biden and hundreds of congressional candidates from both parties ran on the issue background checks. This is the year to get this bill passed into law. And this legislation has the chance to bring this country together - even 85 percent of gun owners believe in expanding background checks, and a growing anti-gun violence movement, made up of both Democrats and Republicans, is demanding change. I look forward to working across the aisle to get background checks legislation across the finish line.”
“After every tragic shooting, we say, ‘Enough is enough.’ But nothing changes. It’s pass time for change. Sadly, while we cannot prevent every act of violence, certainly we can prevent many more. We owe it to our communities to try. The legislation we’re introducing today closes loopholes using technology that will make our southwest Michigan communities safer and still complies with the Second Amendment,” said Upton.
“I would like to thank Chairman Thompson for his persistent leadership in seeking to pass real gun safety legislation. As one of the Vice-Chairs of the Gun Task Force, I believe H.R. 8 will make a monumental difference in lowering the amount of gun violence in America and by providing a constitutionally protected approach to gun sales,” said Jackson Lee. “It is important to move this bill forward and to finally have a responsible manner for gun transfers in America. H.R. 8 will save lives!”
“Reasonable laws that protect Second Amendment rights while ensuring that felons, fugitives, domestic abusers and other dangerous individuals do not have access to guns help prevent violence and save lives,” said Smith. “This common-sense legislation would ensure that firearms are purchased, owned and used by responsible, law-abiding citizens by closing the ‘private sale loophole’ and listing all those prohibited from buying a firearm in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.”
"The quickest and simplest step we can take to curb gun violence across our country is through expanding background checks on all gun sales," said Kelly. "The American people are tired of watching our brothers, sisters, cousins, friends and even our small children be taken from us by gun violence at the hands of those who should have never had access to a gun in the first place. We know that expanding background checks will help lessen gun violence and save lives. I will continue working with my colleagues to ensure that this and other commonsense reforms to end gun violence advance through Congress."
“Background checks are a proven, effective measure in keeping our communities safe,” said Fitzpatrick. “This legislation protects the constitutional rights of law abiding Americans while seeking to prevent felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill from lawfully purchasing a firearm. Congress owes our nation’s families and children bipartisan gun safety reform, and the introduction of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021brings us closer towards fulfilling that obligation.”
“It has been two years since we stood together in the House chamber and voted to pass this common-sense bill. I voted ‘Yes’ for my son, Jordan Davis, and for all the lives lost to gun violence, ”said McBath.“I promised I would take that sense of protection, that love a mother has for her son, and use it for my community. That I would dedicate my life for families like mine in Marietta, Georgia, who are terrified that they will send their kids to school and never see them come home. Terrified that they will one day be me. Today, we once again take an historic step to protect our children, to protect our communities, and to save American lives.”
H. R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, was first introduced in January 2019 and passed in February 2019 and sat on then Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk for the rest of the 116th Congress despite urgent and strong pressure to take up this important legislation.