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House Democrats to introduce gun background check bill next week


Pelosi, Thompson leading the effort

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

House Democrats are wasting no time in pushing their gun agenda and plan on Tuesday to introduce a proposal to require universal background checks for gun purchases.

Under the plan, federal background checks will be required for all gun sales, including private transactions. A few exemptions will apply, such as transfers between family members or the "temporary use of a gun for hunting," Politico reported. According to gun control activists, about one-fifth or more of gun sales do not include background checks.

Why this day?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) will introduce the bill, called HR 8, on the same day as the eighth anniversary of the shooting of former Rep. Gabby Gifford. She nearly died in the Jan. 8, 2011, massacre in Tucson, Arizona, that killed six people and wounded 15. Gifford resigned from Congress in January 2012.

According to Thompson, the bill is bipartisan, but he declined to say which Republicans are also sponsoring the measure. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) will co-sponsor the legislation, as he has in the past, an aide told Politico.

The Democratic-majority House is all but guaranteed to pass the bill, which marks the first major gun control action by Congress in years. Senate Republicans, however, are likely to refuse to act on the bill. President Donald Trump is also a gun-rights supporter.

"Since the shooting at Sandy Hook, the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force has been fighting for a chance to pass legislation that will help save lives," Thompson said in a statement. "Finally, with our new majority that ran on helping to prevent gun violence, we will introduce a bipartisan, universal background checks bill. We will hold hearings, we will have a vote, and this legislation will finally pass the House."

Pelosi added: "In communities across America, courageous survivors, families and young advocates are showing outstanding courage and persistence in demanding an end to the horrific scourge of gun violence in our nation. It is an honor to join Congressman Mike Thompson and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords to answer their call by taking the first step to pass commonsense background checks – which 97 percent of the American people support."

Was this tried before?

Thompson, King, and more than 200 other House lawmakers introduced similar legislation in November 2017, but it failed to gain traction. Fourteen Republicans supported that proposal.

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