For better or worse, universal background checks are one of the handful of gun control measures that has some degree of bipartisan support. A lot of Republicans just don’t see the downside of requiring a background check when two private citizens decide to sell a firearm to one another. After all, we require it for sales with licensed dealers, so why shouldn’t that extend beyond that into private party sales?
Granted, there aren’t a lot of Republicans who think that way, but there are a few.
Now, that few is giving a lot of hope to gun control advocates.
Multiple gun safety groups are urging members of Congress to vote in favor of a revived bipartisan bill that would expand background checks for firearm sales if signed into law.
The bill, H.R. 8, passed through the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives in early 2019 but stalled in the Senate. The proposed legislation’s bipartisan group of sponsors reintroduced the bill in the House on Tuesday, and gun safety groups seemed hopeful the bill would have a greater chance of success now that Democrats control the White House and hold majorities in the House and Senate.
“Despite the daily deaths of over 100 Americans from gun violence––and hundreds more wounded––then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow background check legislation to have a vote in the Senate last Congress,” Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts said in a Tuesday news release. “But that era ended on Election Day, and now, our grassroots army of nearly 6 million supporters will make sure this historic legislation is passed into law.”
Watts further emphasized the proposed legislation’s importance to gun safety groups during a press call this week. “This is a huge moment for our movement, we are on the precipice of finally addressing a crisis that has killed millions of Americans,” Watts said on the call, according to The Hill.
Rep. Mike Thompson, who chairs the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, spearheaded the bill’s reintroduction with support from fellow House Democrats Jerrold Nadler of New York, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Robin Kelly of Illinois and Lucy McBath of Georgia. The three House Republicans cosponsoring the bill are Fred Upton of Michigan, Christopher Smith of New Jersey and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.
So now you know who to blame for this.
Look, I get the desire to put an end to violent crime. It’s a desire I share. However, at some point, we have to inject some realism into the debate, something Watts is pathologically incapable of understanding.
First, criminals may occasionally purchase firearms by posing as law-abiding citizens to buy it from an actual law-abiding citizen, but that is fairly uncommon. Criminals get their guns primarily through things like black market sales, gun thefts, or staw buyers. Increasing the requirement for background checks won’t actually stop that.
What it will do, though, is make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to help friends out by loaning them firearms or making a quick sale to help a buddy out when cash is tight.
Second, if this passes, it’ll do nothing to the violent crime rate. As noted, criminals aren’t buying tons of guns from private parties. Because of that fact, they’ll keep doing what they’ve been doing. They’ll keep robbing, shooting, and killing because that’s simply what they do.
Kind of like how ignoring reality is what Shannon Watts does.
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