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House Democrats Want Universal Background Checks on Guns: What’s The Deal?

— May 24, 2021

The truth? Many critics and experts believe that the newly passed gun control bill doesn’t really solve the problem.

The last midterm elections saw a consistent theme from many Democratic House candidates: gun control. We’re not talking about weak gun legislation that’s aimed to fail. The Democrats want sweeping gun laws requiring federal background checks on all gun sales.

Fast forward to February 2019, and the House Democrats finally passed the gun control law they campaigned tooth and nail for. The most significant gun control push in years had a final vote of 240 – 190. Eight Republicans and two Democrats switched places to join the other side on the issue.

Passing this Gun Law is a Big Deal for Dems

Congress passing this landmark new state gun laws is a big deal for Democrats advocating tighter gun control measures. Democrats actually gained a much-needed boost on the issue of firearm regulations last year. Several Democratic candidates won key swing House districts, pledging to make gun control a priority.

Most notable among the winning candidates is Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA) who narrowly won the race in Atlanta. In 2012, her 17-year-old son was shot and killed, prompting her to make gun control her signature issue.

Pelosi’s Pledge

After Democrats took control of the chamber in January, Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised to address the issue of gun regulations. The newly approved House bill requires background checks on all firearms sales, including those made online and at gun shows.

The House also plans to pass another provision in the bill that would extend the review period of background checks from three days to ten days. After the vote, Pelosi’s team tweeted that the Democrats “finally put an end to the Republican obstruction and inaction on gun violence.”

A Big Win for the Public

The newly passed gun control law is not only a big deal for Democrats, but also for all Americans in favor of tighter gun control. According to a March 2018 Gallup survey, a whopping 92% of Americans said they were in favor of background checks.

In 2019 alone, there were 148 mass shootings in the United States. The toll? 162 dead, 560 injured, not to mention permanent mental and emotional distress for the survivors. Two shootings occurred at schools and one in a place of worship. In 2018, 17 students and staff died in Parkland, Florida, when a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Never Forget

Low-angle photo of lighted candles; image by Mike Labrum, via
Low-angle photo of lighted candles; image by Mike Labrum, via

Let’s not forget the 59 people who died in 2017 during a massacre in Vegas when a shooter shot at them from an elevated position in a building. A lot of people, especially students, have said their piece in the wake of recent mass shootings that have gripped the country.

Fed up and tired of lax gun laws, people affected by gun violence now have a much-needed win. The court of public opinion has now moved in favor of stricter gun laws. With broad public support, the Democrats were able to push through with their campaign promise of tighter gun control laws.

The Ball is in the Senate’s Court

While the House can celebrate the fact they passed one of the most meaningful bills in the past two decades, the battle is not over yet. The ball is in the GOP-controlled Senate now, and it’s up to them if this new law even reaches the President. Pundits say that bill most likely will not get through the upper House.

While the bill got some GOP support, many Republicans questioned the timing of the move. Plenty in the GOP feels that the Democratic push for stronger gun control laws was for the midterm elections and winning public support.

Hypocrisy and the Truth

After the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, President Trump told survivors and the families of the victims that there would be “very strong background checks” – despite pledging to veto any bill that would implement stricter background checks. The Democrats had a field day, accusing him of being a hypocrite for making a promise that he couldn’t keep.

The truth? Many critics and experts believe that the newly passed gun control bill doesn’t really solve the problem. They argue that universal background checks have limited effects on gun violence, and other policies could have a stronger effect.

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