From the Office of Rep. Val Demings

Today the House of Representatives passed two gun violence prevention bills cosponsored by Rep. Val Demings (FL-10). These are:

  • H.R. 8 (The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019) and
  • H.R. 1112 (The Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019).

Said Rep. Demings, “As a law enforcement officer, time and time again I saw the damage guns can do in the hands of the wrong people. I’ve stood at crime scenes and thought about families who had no idea that they would never see their loved one again. We cannot continue to allow this violence in our communities.

“Background checks keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. Closing the loopholes in our background check system is common sense, and more than 90% of Americans—including gun owners—agree. This much-needed bill should be embraced by both Democrats and Republicans. It was President Reagan who said that legislation would be worth passing if it meant even small reductions in gun violence. In other words, protecting each person from gun violence matters.”

Background

The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 will extend the existing background check requirement for gun purchases conducted by licensed dealers to all purchases, including private sales, unlicensed dealer sales, online sales, and gun show sales. There are a number of exceptions in the bill to cover certain private, temporary transfers, such for hunting purposes.

The Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019 would close the Charleston Loophole. Current law allows a dealer to transfer a firearm to a purchaser after 3 business days if the background check has not been completed. In 2016 this loophole allowed 4,170 guns to be sold to people who should not have been able to buy a gun. In 2015, this included the shooter in the mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019 will extend that period to 10 business days and require the purchaser to make an affirmative request to expedite the process. The dealer would only be allowed to transfer the weapon if the background check had not been completed 10 days after the affirmative request.

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