With episodes of gun violence spreading across the country in a series of high-profile shootings, Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick reintroduced the Bipartisan Background Checks Act.
“Last year, we passed the most significant gun violence prevention legislation in three decades in the wake of the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act will help save lives and is a strong step in the right direction — but we know it’s just the first step,” said Thompson, a Democrat from California’s Fourth District, in a news release. “The Bipartisan Background Checks Act is common sense gun violence prevention legislation that will do the most important thing gun violence prevention legislation can do — save lives.”
Thompson has introduced background check legislation every Congress since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, which killed 20 children and six adult staff members. The Bipartisan Background Checks Act was first introduced in the 116th Congress by Thompson and was passed in the House by a vote of 240-190, and again passed in the 117th Congress and passed the House by a vote of 227-203. A filibuster left the bill languishing in the Senate.
The legislation’s supporters say the majority of the American public has supported laws requiring background checks on all firearm purchases, with polling data consistently showing that more than 90 percent of both gun owners and non-gun owners support this provision, including 72 percent of members of the National Rifle Association.
Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Pennsylvania’s First District, shares Thompson’s enthusiasm for more background checks.
“Our communities will be safer with the expansion of background checks for firearm sales under this bill,” said Fitzpatrick in the same news release. “Background checks are a simple preventive measure proven to help our law enforcement keep guns out of the hands of criminals. This bipartisan legislation will prevent felons, domestic abusers, and dangerously mentally ill citizens from obtaining a firearm, while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. I’m proud to support these common-sense reforms.”
Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously wounded when she was shot in the head at a 2011 campaign event in Arizona that left six people dead and 12 injured, voiced her support.
“Universal background checks will save lives and the majority of Americans support this important, foundational legislation,” Giffords said. “I applaud Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick and Mike Thompson for demonstrating the courage to act by introducing this vital bill. Earlier this month, the CDC released new data showing that more Americans than ever are dying from gun violence: in 2021, nearly 50,000 lives were lost. We urge the House to do the right thing and take up the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2023.”