WASHINGTON — Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statement applauding Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) for voting for H.R. 8 –– legislation to require background checks on all gun sales that passed the House last week with bipartisan support.
“The last time we passed a significant federal gun safety law, my generation hadn’t even been born yet,” said Catherine Allen, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Florida and survivor of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. “When we go to school each day, we don’t know if we’ll be able to come home, because gun violence is now the number one threat young people face in the United States. Background checks on all gun sales are a key step towards ending this epidemic, and we applaud Rep. Buchanan for voting for this life-saving bill. Our Senators must now follow his lead.”
There’s a good reason why background checks on all gun sales garner such overwhelming bipartisan support: they save lives. But because of loopholes in our current laws, nearly a quarter of Americans who obtain firearms do so without getting a background check. Each year, 1.2 million online ads offering firearms for sale are listed on Armslist.com (“Armslist”) that would not legally require a background check to be completed. And nearly 1 in 9 prospective buyers who respond to these ads would fail a background check, a rate seven times higher than the denial rate at gun stores.
Requiring background checks on all gun sales is especially critical during COVID-19: Gun sales have skyrocketed over the past year, and Everytown’s research suggests hundreds of thousands of guns are likely being sold through unlicensed sellers with no background check and no questions asked.
If passed into law, H.R. 8 would become the first meaningful federal gun safety legislation enacted in 25 years.