Our Fixation on Universal Background Checks is Killing Us

Responding to intense pressure following the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated his chamber will consider background checks legislation when it reconvenes in September. More than 200 House Democrats are asking McConnell to vote on H.R. 8, a universal background checks bill passed in February with just eight Republican votes. It seems like a remarkable and rare opportunity to take meaningful federal action to reduce gun violence, but the truth is less promising. H.R. 8 is marred by a noxious anti-immigrant amendment; and it’s debatable whether the legislation would have any discernible impact given how frequently violent Americans pass instant computer background checks.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lauded H.R. 8’s passage as a “historic victory” despite failing to whip her caucus on a critical Motion to Recommit vote
Republican Georgia Rep. Doug Collins (center) hoped to divide House Democrats and the gun control movement with his Motion to Recommit on H.R. 8. He succeeded.
The weapons of war used in the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio on August 4, 2019 were legally bought. This is the norm, not the exception.
6 Democratic presidential candidates (including Elizabeth Warren) support national gun licensing, but have been unable or unwilling to explain why the failure of the instant check system makes licensing necessary.

Gun control professional/volunteer who’s worked for CSGV, George Takei’s One Pulse for America, MMM, MDPGV. Advocate for bolder pro-democracy agenda.

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