The Democrat-led House of Representatives is set to pass two measures to expand background checks on all firearms purchases and transfers. It would also expand the review time for gun purchases to 10 days. The bills will advance to the Senate, though they require significant bipartisan support to pass.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the legislation is necessary to address a crisis of mass shootings nationwide.
“The gun violence crisis in America is a challenge to the conscience of our country – one that demands that we act,” Pelosi said during floor debate. “These solutions will save lives.”
It took the Covid-19 pandemic to significantly slow the pace of mass shootings. A December 2020 report from The Associated Press indicated that there were just two mass shootings last year and that both happened before state lockdowns were largely implemented.
Last week, a bill to expand federal background checks on all gun sales was reintroduced in the Senate by Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).
For the bill to pass the Senate, all 50 Democrats need to be on board. They would also need to secure 10 votes across the aisle to overcome the legislative filibuster.
“Joe Biden and hundreds of congressional candidates from both parties ran on the issue of background checks. This is the year to get this bill passed into law. And this legislation has the chance to bring this country together – even 85 percent of gun owners believe in expanding background checks, and a growing anti-gun violence movement, made up of both Democrats and Republicans, is demanding change,” Murphy said in a press release.