Washington, D.C., March 23, 2021 - Ahead of today's hearing on constitutional and common-sense policies to address gun violence, Brady urges the U.S. Senate to act immediately to keep Americans safe. This hearing takes place less than 24 hours after a gunman killed 10 people in a Colorado supermarket and a week since a shooter killed eight people at three different locations in Georgia as well as a mass shooting in Chicago that injured 13 and killed two others. Today’s hearing takes place against the backdrop of our nation’s unabated gun violence epidemic. It is well past time for real and meaningful action.
Brady President Kris Brown shared:
“Gun violence and mass death are again splashed across the headlines, a chilling but clarifying backdrop to today’s hearing. The mass shooting yesterday in Boulder underscores how decades of intransigence and inaction have cost lives - over 600,000 in the last 20 years. While our country has spent the last year working tirelessly to combat a global pandemic, America’s gun violence epidemic has only been exacerbated and left unchecked. Over 100 people die every day from gun violence in America. That did not change during lockdown. Yesterday, 10 of those lives lost were in Boulder, Colorado at the hands of a gunman in a grocery store, including a responding officer. We cannot accept that reality. Today’s hearing must set us on a path to make real change for our country.
Brady is grateful that Chairman Durbin and members of the 117th Congress such as Majority Leader Schumer and Sens. Blumenthal and Murphy in the Senate have shown time and again that they will not hesitate to act to prevent gun violence. This hearing is just the latest example.
Brady calls on the Senate to immediately take up and vote on H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446, bills passed by the House with bipartisan support less than two weeks ago. Leader Schumer has already pledged to bring a vote on background checks to the floor and the Senate should do so without delay. Strengthening and expanding our background check system is a foundational first step, supported by 90 percent of Americans. If such foundational and popular bills can’t pass with the Senate’s current rules, then the rules must be changed so a simple majority vote is allowed to protect Americans from gun violence. Yesterday’s shooting shows us, again, that delaying passage of life-saving gun laws even one day costs lives and shatters communities.”
About H.R. 8:
Introduced on March 2, 2021 by Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) and passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 11, H.R. 8 makes it unlawful to sell or transfer a firearm in any transaction without a Brady Background Check. This bill expands the current Brady Law to every sale or transfer in private sales, subject to the narrow exceptions.
About H.R. 1446:
Introduced on March 2, 2021 by Rep. Jim Clyburn (SC-6), H.R. 1446 provides the background check system with additional time to make a final determination on a potential firearms purchaser before a licensed dealer can transfer a gun, closing the so-called “Charleston loophole.”
Currently, federal law allows a “default proceed,” whereby a federally licensed firearm dealer (FFL) can transfer a gun to a customer if the federal background check is not completed within 3 business days of the background check request to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
The Charleston loophole is named for the 2015 mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine innocent people. The shooter – who was prohibited by law from possessing a firearm – was able to acquire his gun before the FBI could complete his background check. Although the FBI needed more time to investigate the shooter’s disqualifying records to determine whether the purchase was lawful, federal law allowed the dealer to transfer the gun after three days even though the check was not completed.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.