Chairman Thompson Joins Democrats and Republicans to Introduce Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019

Jan 8, 2019
Press Release
Bill expands background checks to be universal

Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05), Congressman Pete King (NY-02), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), House Judiciary Subcommittee Chairwoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18), Congresswomen Robin Kelly (IL-02), Congressman Fred Upton (MI-06), Congresswoman Lucy McBath (GA-06), and Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04) announced the introduction of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, legislation that requires background checks on all firearm sales. The 10 bipartisan, original coauthors introduced this legislation on the eighth anniversary of the Tucson shooting where 6 were killed and 13 were wounded by gunfire, including Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Bill text is available here.

“Since the inception of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force after the shooting at Sandy Hook, we have been working across the aisle to help prevent gun violence. Today we take a decisive step forward to help save lives right away. As a gun owner, hunter and supporter of the Second Amendment, I am honored to join with Democratic and Republican colleagues to introduce my universal background checks bill that will help keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them,” said Chairman Thompson. “From the public polling to the ballot box, the American people have spoken up and demanded action to help end the tragedy of gun violence that far too many in our country face every day. We will continue our fight and we will deliver.”

“There is no single law that can put an end to mass shootings or gun violence, but there are certainly proactive steps we can take to keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill. When background checks are used, they keep guns out of the hands of people we all agree shouldn’t have guns,” said Congressman King. “As government officials it is our responsibility to protect our citizens, and when it comes to gun violence we must do more. The overwhelming majority of Americans want to see action, and we owe it to the victims and their families to prevent such tragedies from occurring again. I am proud to be the lead Republican sponsor of this legislation.”

“The background check requirement for firearms sales in current federal law is riddled with loopholes that make it far too easy for dangerous people to get guns. It is time we expand these checks to include all gun sales,” said Chairman Nadler. “The American people overwhelmingly support universal background checks which will make us safer from gun violence, and I am proud to cosponsor this critical legislation.”

“Background checks are a proven, effective measure in keeping our communities safe,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “This common-sense legislation protects the constitutional rights of law abiding Americans while seeking to prevent felons, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill from lawfully purchasing a firearm. Congress owes our nation’s families and children bipartisan gun safety reform, and the introduction of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 brings us closer towards fulfilling that obligation.”

“Everyone agrees our schools, movie theaters shopping malls, streets and communities need to be safer. But we need a comprehensive approach that goes beyond just arming more people with more guns to make this happen. One way that we can come closer to ending the scourge of gun violence is ensuring that guns do not get into the wrong hands to begin with,” said Chairwoman Jackson Lee. “This is why I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this bipartisan legislation and I commend all of my colleagues for their tireless work on this important initiative.”

“Serving in the military, I held my fellow soldiers as the last breath went out of them. Our students, teachers, parishioners, mothers, fathers or any other civilian should never have to confront this tragedy,” said Congressman Mast. “As Members of Congress, we weren’t sent to Washington to do just what’s easy — we were sent here to take action and that's exactly what this bill is: a unified effort to save lives."

“For too long, Congress has ignored the gun violence epidemic that claims American lives each and every day. With H.R. 8, Congressional Democrats are taking a commonsense, bipartisan and broadly-supported step forward toward a future where no mother has to bury her child because of gun violence,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “We know that background checks work to reduce gun violence and gun violence deaths. As we continue working to prevent gun violence, we know that good gun safety policies must be coupled with investment and re-investment in our communities so young people pick up hammers and computer skills, instead of guns and bullets.”

“This common-sense, bipartisan bill will help keep our communities safe from gun violence by expanding existing background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” said Congressman Upton. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we continue to tackle unacceptable gun violence in a bipartisan manner.”

"Seven years ago, gun violence ripped my son away from me. For my family and the 96 American families who lose a loved one to gun violence every single day, background checks are long overdue,” said Congresswoman McBath. “I am proud to co-sponsor this bill as a necessary step to making our schools, movie theaters, and public spaces safer for our families."

“During my tenure in Congress, I have always supported reasonable laws that protect Second Amendment rights while ensuring that felons, fugitives, domestic abusers and those who have been found to be a danger to themselves or others do not have access to guns,” said Congressman Smith. “This common-sense legislation would further this end by strengthening protections against unlawful gun purchases — closing the ‘private sale loophole’ and listing all those prohibited from buying a firearm in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.”


The Gun Violence Prevention Task Force was established after the tragedy at Sandy Hook and has grown to a membership of more than 165.