The Human Rights Campaign is calling on Congress to advance the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which would expand background checks for gun sales.
Current federal law requires only licensed gun dealers to conduct a background check before completing a sale. Private parties who are not licensed dealers, however, can sell guns without conducting a background check and with no questions asked, “a significant gap in the law that allows individuals who are prohibited from gun possession to evade that law,” says an HRC press release. These individuals include domestic abusers and people with a history of violent crimes.
“The LGBTQ community and other communities disproportionately targeted by hate violence cannot wait any longer for common-sense gun safety legislation,” HRC government affairs director David Stacy said in the release. “It’s far past time that Congress take action and help save lives by closing the dangerous loophole in background checks for gun sales. One more death is one too many, and this common-sense, bipartisan measure would be a critical first step in addressing the crisis of gun violence impacting our communities.”
After the mass shooting in 2016 at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, which took the lives of 49 people, mostly LGBTQ and Latinx, HRC’s board of directors voted to back measures to prevent gun violence. These include expanding background checks, limiting access to assault-style rifles, and limiting the ability of people with violent records to obtain guns.
The bill, introduced last month, is scheduled for markup Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee. Markup is the process by which congressional committees and subcommittees debate, amend, and rewrite proposed legislation.