WASHINGTON — Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statement applauding Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) for voting for H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446 –– both of which passed the House with bipartisan support last week. If passed into law, H.R. 8 would require background checks on all gun sales, and H.R. 1446 would address the gap in federal law that allows gun sales to proceed if a background check has not been completed within three business days. Rep. Smith was one of the cosponsors of H.R. 8.
“In the years since my mother was shot and killed, more than a million Americans have been killed by gun violence –– but Congress hasn’t passed a single significant federal gun safety law since 1994 to address this deadly epidemic,” said Dina Shaw, a survivor of gun violence from New Jersey whose mother was shot and killed by her father on June 3, 1974. “These bills are key steps toward ending that carnage, and we applaud Rep. Smith for leading the way towards passing them into law.”
Background checks on all gun sales is Everytown’s top legislative priority for this Congress, and recent polling shows that 93% of Americans support it –– including 89% of Republicans. 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.
The Charleston loophole has likely become even deadlier during the pandemic due to skyrocketing gun sales. According to records obtained by Everytown, between Jan. 1 and Nov. 12 of 2020, the FBI reported 5,807 sales to prohibited purchasers through this loophole –– more than in any other entire calendar year. Thousands more guns likely slipped through this loophole in 2020, as the data does not account for delayed checks that are unresolved at 90 days and are therefore completely wiped from the system. Addressing this loophole is another of Everytown’s top priorities for this Congress.
If passed into law, either of these bills would become the first meaningful federal gun safety legislation enacted in 25 years.