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HRC Urges Congress to Expand Background Checks for Gun Sales

Pulse nightclub

The organization is backing the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, set to be considered by a House committee today.

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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.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.