The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R.8) is legislation brought about by the efforts of young people. Those involved carried on a committed course of action at the ballot box and on the streets. Demanding action on gun violence they mobilised communities by demograph, geography and socio-economic class. The bill itself seeks to expand background checks for all firearms sales. Co Sponsored by Rep. Lawrence commenting that “Background checks work and they help save lives”. Currently under federal law background checks (prior to completing a gun sale) are required by licensed gun dealers only. The act is set to close the loophole that allows non licensed individuals to offer guns for sale with no questions asked and without carrying out a background check. For some time individuals have exploited this loophole allowing those prohibited from gun ownership to evade the law. As a result an individual can purchase guns at gun shows, via private sales and online, in 2018 around 40,000 died by guns. The ethos of expanded background checks (Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019) is supported by around 90% of the public in America.

The HRC had also added it’s weight to the cause as a result of the murders in Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub in 2016. The majority of the victims from the Latinx and LGBTQ communities. In order to respect the safety of the LGBTQ community the HRC (directors) adopted a resolution that addressed the hatred fueling anti-LGBTQ and minority motivated murder and discrimination. A common sense approach to curbing gun violence was also recognised inclusive expanding all encompassing background checks, limited access to assault-style rifles while also restricting access to guns for those with violent records. There are few exceptions to the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, however one being the gifts of firearms between immediate family members. There is strict criteria as to what is constituted as a “private sale” and those individuals “engaged in the business” of dealing. An FFL (Federal Firearms License) is not required for private individual sales. The ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) does not deliberate around online or gun show sales but what is clear is that attempting to circumvent regulations bring about fines upwards to $250,000 and/or imprisonment.

Some skeptics though see the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 as a burden to a system that has already failed in the past with disastrous consequences. In a number of occasions over the past two decades failures as a result of the existing background check system has been cited as the cause of some mass shootings. Also in respect of these mass shootings firearms were legally obtained from a FFL and/or stolen. The firearm used in the Aurora shooting was obtained from a licensed firearms reseller, the individual passing a background check he should not have passed due to a prior aggravated assault conviction. Following USAF’s failure to pass on information to the FBI (the agency responsible) over a domestic violence charge the individual in question was able to commit mass murder in Sutherland Springs. Clerical issues (Federal background check) were also blamed for the mass shooting in Charleston (2015). Some may well take the opinion that to complement the Bipartisan Background Checks Act the Federal Agencies should be committed to better performance ( federal background check system ) and that no one should slip through the net along with the enforcement of existing laws keeping guns out of the reach of individuals who shouldn’t have them.


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