Gun-control organizations are rallying behind the bipartisan “Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act,” a federal bill introduced Wednesday that would require background checks on all private transfers, including those made over the Internet and at gun shows.
“Requiring background checks on all gun sales continues to be the single most effective thing we can do to keep guns out of dangerous hands and reduce the toll of 88 Americans who are killed by gun violence every day,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety, in a press release.
“The steadily growing movement of Americans is making progress – as we’ve seen in states across the country that have passed laws to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill,” Feinblatt continued.
As many as 17 states and Washington D.C. now require background checks on all private transfers. The “Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act” (H.R. 1217), which was sponsored by U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Peter King (R-NY), would mandate universal background checks in all 50 states.
Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded in a 2011 shooting attack near Tucson, was on Capitol Hill Wednesday supporting the bill.
“Stopping violence takes courage,” she said at a press conference. “The courage to do what’s right, the courage of new ideas. … Now is the time to come together and be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, everyone. We must never stop fighting. Fight, fight, fight. Be bold, be courageous, the nation’s counting on you.”
Giffords was joined by her husband Mark Kelly, a former astronaut. Together the couple founded the pro-gun control organization Americans for Responsible Solutions.
The obvious question is will this bill clear both the House and Senate?
The previous UBC bill, known as the Manchin-Toomey amendment, failed to clear the Senate, falling six votes shy of the 60 needed to override a GOP led filibuster in April of 2013.
Given that the political landscape has shifted following the 2014 midterms and the GOP now has a majority in both the House and Senate, it’s arguably even more unlikely that it will. Nevertheless, the sponsors of the bill are optimistic.
“If this thing passes out of the House, it will fly out of the Senate,” Thompson told The Washington Post.
Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL), one of the few Republicans who supports the measure, said that despite the long odds, “we have to continually push; we have to continually try.”
“I’m not saying I’m going to the speaker, and it’s going to be on the floor next week — it’s not,” Dold said. “But my hope is this continues to build momentum and ultimately will be passed. … It is something that the American public wants us to do.”