Democrats propose bill to tighten background checks on gun purchases
House Democrats on Tuesday presented a bill to strengthen background checks during both public and private weapons purchases in the US.
“We say enough is enough by bringing commonsense, bipartisan background check legislation to the floor of the House,” House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference, adding that recent polling shows strong support around the country for background checks.
The legislation would require a background check via a federal database for all types of weapons sales, including private transactions, although it would exempt weapons transfers among family members and the temporary use of weapons for hunting.
In her speech, Pelosi emphasized the role of Democratic lawmaker Mike Thompson as the main driver of the bill and thanked former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the victim of a 2011 assassination attempt, for her presence at the event.
Thompson said that political momentum to address gun violence is growing around the country, adding that “The American people have been demanding we take action and this new (Democratic-majority) Congress will deliver.”
Meanwhile, Giffords, who has had difficulty speaking since she was shot in the head in Tucson, urged lawmakers to continue the “fight” to tighten controls over arms sales in this country.
On Jan. 8, 2011, a man opened fire at Giffords and her supporters at a political meet-and-greet event she had organized, killing six people and wounding 15.
After spending several months in critical condition, Giffords retired from politics, although she later became a national leader in the effort to more closely control weapons sales.
Despite the fact that this bill is expected to be approved in the House, it is quite likely that the Senate, which has a Republican majority, will not approve it, thus killing it.