HR. 8 Gun Control Bill

Erin Zipman, Staff Writer

After the struggle and strife of the past year, an aggressive gun control bill has entered the political stage. Gun control advocates have praised the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which was introduced on January 8th by California congressional representative Mike Thompson. As of February 27th, the bill has passed the House and now rests on the Senate floor.

The bill essentially prohibits the transfer or transaction of guns without a background check being conducted by a licensed gun dealer or manufacturer. This means that gun sales, trades, and loans between “private parties” (unlicensed individuals, for example) must involve a background check. Violations can be met with harsh penalties.

This legislation is a long-awaited reaction to America’s distinct relation to gun violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 100 Americans are killed every day with guns; people of color are especially vulnerable, with Black Americans being ten times more likely to die by gun homicide than their white counterparts. The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that the U.S. has a gun homicide rate 25 times higher than that of other high-income countries. Additionally, guns also play a devastating role in domestic violence and suicide.

Waves of activists have banded together, united often by the pain of having lost a loved one to gun violence. Twenty students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School formed Never Again MSD, to strengthen their political advocacy. Parents of children who were victims of shootings like those in Parkland and Sandy Hook have risen to the government’s eye to demand gun safety measures. Georgia House Representative Lucy McBath began advocacy against gun violence after her son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed in an argument with a stranger. She joined Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, speaking at many prominent platforms, and won a position in Congressional office in this past election.

It is important that we continue listen to each other, across backgrounds and party lines, as we work to strike a balance between personal rights and public safety. We all want a safe and free country, and must work together for just solutions to our gun violence problem.