As promised, Madam Speaker delivered promptly after the opening of the 116th Congress on legislation to curtail gun violence, something that has been way too long in coming. On January 8, the House ceremoniously introduced H.R. 8, “The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019,” legislation requiring
background checks on all gun sales, unveiled in remembrance of the horrific shootings in Tucson on January 8, 2011, in which former Representative “Gabby” Giffords was a victim. She miraculously escaped death and was in the House Chamber for this event eight years later.
Other Legislation Introduced Requiring our Immediate Attention
S. 42, Senate companion legislation to H.R. 8, H.R. 569, closing a dangerous loophole known as the “Boyfriend Loophole,” through which certain domestic abusers can obtain and keep guns (A companion bill also will be introduced in the Senate by Sen. Klobuchar.)
Plans for Congressional Consideration
It is our understanding that, as of now, both the House Judiciary Committee and the separate special Task Force chaired by Rep. Mike Thompson plan to have completed hearings and markup on H.R. 8, with subsequent Floor action by February 28. As we’ve said before, it is hoped that pressure from the almost 97% of the American public who support universal background checks and from House members will be enough for Senators to reassess whether the price of thwarting progress is indeed too high. Action on other legislation is unknown as of now.
Task Force Update and Plans for Immediate Action
- Expand our coalition efforts with additional gun safety reform advocacy groups, hoping to increase our knowledge and sharing of information re: upcoming panel discussions, conference calls, legislation status at both the state and national levels, action alerts, etc.
- Send letters of endorsement on select pieces of legislation to appropriate congressional committees and leadership.
- Lobby members of the House and Senate to cosponsor H.R. 8 and S. 42
- Organize a WNDC speaker program.
- Continue to issue action alerts and statements/resolutions as warranted.
— Shelly Livingston and Ellen McGovern, acting co-chairs, Task Force to Prevent Gun Violence