Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress

Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress

Gun violence prevention groups hailed this Congress as the best chance for background check legislation to pass. 

Democrats reintroduced legislation to expand federal background checks on all gun sales on Tuesday and groups like March for Our Lives and Moms Demand Action said they were optimistic about action that’s been stalled for years. 

“This is a huge moment for our movement, we are on the precipice of finally addressing a crisis that has killed millions of Americans,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said on a press call.


Advocates noted that there is a “gun sense trifecta” in Washington, referring to the Democratic-led House, Senate and White House. President BidenJoe BidenFirst lady leaves Walter Reed after foot procedure Biden backs effort to include immigration in budget package MyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News MORE recently met with gun violence prevention groups and the White House has said he is personally committed to action on gun control.

“There’s never been a better time for federal action on gun safety,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. He added that background check legislation is “unfinished business” for Biden, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCapitol riot defendants have started a jail newsletter: report On The Money: Biden asks Congress to extend eviction ban with days until expiration | Economic growth rose to 6.5 percent annual rate in second quarter Top Democrat: 'A lot of spin' coming from White House on infrastructure MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerAn August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Schumer's moment to transform transit and deepen democracy MORE (D-N.Y.). 

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocrats ramp up pressure for infrastructure deal amid time crunch Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan Overnight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia MORE (D-Conn.) reintroduced the Background Checks Expansion Act, which would require unlicensed or private sellers to conduct a background check prior to transferring a firearm.

Rep. Mike ThompsonCharles (Mike) Michael ThompsonHouse Democrats introduce bill to close existing gun loopholes and prevent mass shootings Giffords group unveils gun violence memorial on National Mall Democrats urge Biden to take executive action on assault-style firearms MORE (D-Calif.) reintroduced the companion legislation in the House. Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) also introduced legislation on Monday that would give federal investigators more time to do background checks and close the so-called Charleston loophole.

“Passing this legislation is the bare minimum. It’s the first step in comprehensive action. It’s embarrassing that it’s taken this long in the United States to pass commonsense gun legislation. It should not be the case that for as long as I’ve been alive, this country has not seen a single chance to its gun laws,” said Max Markham, policy director at March For Our Lives.


The Democratic-led House last Congress passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act in February 2019. The bill never received votes in the GOP-controlled Senate. 

“Its been about getting a vote in the first place. What we know is gun safety legislation in recent times that has passed the House has just gathered dust on [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAn August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done After police rip Trump for Jan. 6, McCarthy again blames Pelosi The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands MORE’s desk. I think that that has been the biggest obstacle,” Feinblatt said.

While Democrats control the House, background check legislation still faces an uphill battle in the Senate and would require at least 10 Republican senators to support it to overcome the legislative filibuster.

“Right now, the Biden Harris administration and with this Congress, we have our best chance to pass these kinds of commonsense fixes, better than we had in a decade,” said Kris Brown, president of Brady.

A bill proposed by Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinTop Democrat: 'A lot of spin' coming from White House on infrastructure An August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done Democrats say they have the votes to advance .5T budget measure MORE (D-W.Va.) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.) in 2013 after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 26 people only garnered 54 votes. Watts though said that with the rise of the gun control prevention movement, any politician who stands in the way of gun control legislation does so at their own political peril.

“I can assure you that the world looks so much different today,” Watts said.