Eight years ago, while taking part in a district town hall in her home city of Tucson, Ariz., Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, her staff, and her constituents fell victim to senseless gun violence. On Tuesday, exactly eight years after the attack, she stood on the floor of the House of Representatives to introduce the Background Check Act of 2019.
This will be Congress’s first step to address gun violence in almost a decade.
Previously, the House Republican leadership, beholden to the gun lobby, was stuck in a grisly ritual: mass shooting, moment of silence, inaction. Congress not only failed to respond to Aurora, Orlando, Newtown, San Bernardino, and Las Vegas, but they also ignored the daily reports of gun deaths at the hands of domestic abuse, homicide, and suicide. Every death is an ugly reminder of the toll that guns take on our society and the price of inaction: 100 Americans are killed with guns and hundreds more are shot or injured every day. We have all adapted to the despair that has come to define each tragedy.
The inaction ended six days after the House Democrats were sworn into the majority and introduced our first, long overdue step to end this cycle of violence. This bill would finally close the ‘gun show loophole’ by requiring a criminal background check for everyone purchasing a gun in both private and public sales. The concept is simple: guns should not be in the hands of dangerous people. A 2017 study found that 22 percent of gun owners who had purchased a firearm in the past two years did so without a background check.
This moment was possible because we said enough is enough. Americans voted for change in 2018 and a Congress that acts on the issues that impact our lives. By taking this step, we are standing together with the courageous survivors, advocates, and the majority of Americans who all agree that we need common sense reforms. Congress is done wasting time.
Since I joined the House, gun safety has been one of my top priorities, and now, with the Democrats in the majority and your advocacy, this first step won’t be our last. We need to prevent convicted animal abusers from accessing guns, ban assault weapons, and remove the federal ban on researching the impact of gun violence in our communities.
There is much work to be done, but I am optimistic. When former Congresswoman Giffords stood with us on the House floor, I was in awe of her courage, resilience, and determination. She has proven that when we work together and fight for good policy, we can make our country stronger and safer, even in the face of adversity. She is a bright light for us all to follow as we work together in this new Congress.
Original story here.