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house Bill H.R. 8

Should Gun Dealers and Individual, Private Sellers Have to Wait for a Completed Background Check to Transfer a Firearm?

Argument in favor

If a background check is a required step in the process for an unlicensed buyer, there shouldn’t be an exception that allows the buyer to take possession of the gun when a background check takes more than three business days.

Paul's Opinion
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03/11/2021
This country is over-armed and under-smart about it.
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jimK's Opinion
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03/11/2021
Yes. The ‘out’ of allowing gun sales if the FBI cannot complete a background check in three days or ten days is a loophole that can allow lethal weaponry to be acquired by someone whose background acts of violence, anger, rage, revenge or mental problems would indicate that they are a threat to a civil society- and should be denied such access. This does not prevent the current process of fairly rapid background checks from being done as they currently are; it just closes an unfortunate loophole. I would be in favor of a mandatory delay of three to ten days anyway- but that is not the issue being addressed here. … … … The proposed legislation just closes this loophole and would seem to be in the best interests of those who want access to firearms as well as those who would want to limit such access to only those who have not shown enough responsibility to warrant having access to lethal weaponry.
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Ashley's Opinion
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03/11/2021
Obviously, yes. All of you people arguing that it’s unconstitutional are out of your minds. You want ANYONE and EVERYONE to have access and the reality is that shouldn’t be the case. Grow up.
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Argument opposed

It shouldn’t take more than three business days to complete a background check on an unlicensed prospective gun buyer, and if it does the business owner should be able to transfer the gun at their discretion.

Matthew's Opinion
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03/11/2021
The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. Period. Creating hurdles and regulations and exceptions and requirements on an inalienable right is unconstitutional. Reject this bill
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Chris's Opinion
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03/11/2021
For all of the money, technology,and personnel that the government has, if it takes them MORE than 3 days to get the paperwork for a background check through for this there is something wrong. They certainly know when you've got unpaid this and that. They know when your taxes have not been paid and where and how to find you. So - a simple computer check for this should not be hard for the paper pushers. Come on, this is more smoke and mirrors to make people wait or even make more restriction for those that have done nothing to stop them from owning a gun.
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Zachary's Opinion
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03/11/2021
All gun laws are unconstitutional. Shall not be infringed.
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What is House Bill H.R. 8?

This bill would amend the federal criminal code to prohibit a licensed gun dealer from transferring a firearm to an unlicensed person before a background check has been completed, including purchases made from private individuals online and at gun shows or similar events. Under current law, licensed gun dealers may allow firearms to be transferred to an unlicensed person if a background check remains incomplete three business days after it was submitted.

The bill would provide a number of exemptions to the background check requirement, including sales to law enforcement officers or members of the armed forces; gifts to family members;  transfers to be used exclusively for hunting or target shooting; and sales of firearms intended for self-defense to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.

This legislation would not interfere with states’ authorities to enact their own gun sales background check laws.

Impact

Gun purchasers; gun sellers; unlicensed gun buyers and licensed gun dealers; people and entities administering background checks.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 8

$45.00 Million
During the 116th Congress, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that this bill would cost $45 million to implement over the five-year period from 2019 to 2024.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, reintroduced this legislation from the 116th and 115th Congresses to require background checks on all firearm sales and close a loophole allowing gun salespeople to transfer firearms without background checks if the background checks take more than three business days to complete. In a press release from March 2, 2021, Rep. Thompson said:

“The last two years have been a turning point in our longstanding fight to help prevent gun violence and we take another leap forward in helping to save lives. Joined by Democrats and Republicans, we introduce the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 to help keep guns out of the hands of those who may be a danger to themselves or others. Time and time again, we have seen that the American people want universal background checks, in fact public polling shows that the majority of people, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, support this. We began our work to combat the scourge of gun violence eight years ago after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and will not stop until we deliver for the American people.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) supports this legislation:

“Every day, the epidemic of gun violence shatters lives in countless communities across the country. With Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson’s reintroduction of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, the Democratic House is continuing its urgent action to end the epidemic. Guided by the voices of millions of young people marching for their lives and aided by the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, the Democratic Congress will continue our work to ensure H.R. 8 and other life-saving gun violence prevention measures are finally enacted into law. Enough is enough.”

Sen. Chris Murphy, who has introduced a Senate companion bill with the support of 45 Democratic Senate cosponsors, says:

“Background checks are simple, easy, and they save lives. That's why more than 90 percent of Americans support our legislation to make sure no guns are sold in this country without a check. Joe Biden and hundreds of congressional candidates from both parties ran on the issue background checks. This is the year to get this bill passed into law. And this legislation has the chance to bring this country together - even 85 percent of gun owners believe in expanding background checks, and a growing anti-gun violence movement, made up of both Democrats and Republicans, is demanding change.”

President Joe Biden ran on the issue of background checks during the 2020 presidential election. The Biden administration supports this legislation and H.R. 1446. In a March 8, 2021 statement of administration policy, the White House said:

“The Federal gun background check system is a proven tool to reduce gun violence and save lives. This system, called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, has kept millions of guns out of potentially dangerous hands. The Administration encourages the House to pass two bills that would help close existing loopholes in this system: H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, and H.R. 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021.”

Moms Demand Action, a gun control advocacy group that has supported this legislation in multiple sessions of Congress, expressed its support in the current legislative session. The organization’s founder, Shannon Watts, says:

“Despite the daily deaths of over 100 Americans from gun violence––and hundreds more wounded––then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow background check legislation to have a vote in the Senate last Congress. But that era ended on Election Day, and now, our grassroots army of nearly 6 million supporters will make sure this historic legislation is passed into law."

During a press call, Watts added, “This is a huge moment for our movement, we are on the precipice of finally addressing a crisis that has killed millions of Americans.

The National Right Association’s (NRA) lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA), opposes this legislation. In a report, the NRA-ILA argued that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the dangers of private transfer restrictions, which it claimed “made it impossible for millions of Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights by acquiring, or even borrowing or lending, firearms” during the pandemic. The NRA-ILA also claimed that universal background checks do not stop criminal because most firearms used in the commission of crimes are stolen, brought on the underground market, or purchased via straw purchasing from federally licensed firearms dealers. The NRA-ILA’s H.R. 8 site concludes:

“[T]he true effect of H.R. 8 would be criminalizing otherwise lawful conduct with firearms. The overbroad nature of the proposed legislation would criminalize many transfers that take place as part of hunting, recreational shooting, and even self-defense.” 

Opponents of this legislation have pointed out that under current law, even if the unlicensed buyer takes possession of the gun after three days, the Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to resolve the background check for up to 90 days. If it turns out that the buyer should’ve been prohibited by the background check and the gun was transferred, the ATF is notified and steps are taken to confiscate the weapon and potentially prosecute the buyer.

In the current Congress, this bill has the support of 232 bipartisan cosponsors, including 227 Democrats and five Republicans. The House Judiciary Committee passed this bill on a 23-15 vote that was mostly along party-lines. 

This legislation has 131 House cosponsors, including 128 Democrats and three Republicans, in the current session of Congress. In the previous Congress, this bill passed the House by a 240-190 vote with the support of 232 bipartisan cosponsors in the House, including 227 Democrats and five Republicans. It subsequently stalled in the Senate due to then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) opposition.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / K_E_N)

AKA

Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021

Official Title

To require a background check for every firearm sale.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed March 11th, 2021
    Roll Call Vote 227 Yea / 203 Nay
      house Committees
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedMarch 1st, 2021

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    This country is over-armed and under-smart about it.
    Like (86)
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    The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. Period. Creating hurdles and regulations and exceptions and requirements on an inalienable right is unconstitutional. Reject this bill
    Like (60)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes. The ‘out’ of allowing gun sales if the FBI cannot complete a background check in three days or ten days is a loophole that can allow lethal weaponry to be acquired by someone whose background acts of violence, anger, rage, revenge or mental problems would indicate that they are a threat to a civil society- and should be denied such access. This does not prevent the current process of fairly rapid background checks from being done as they currently are; it just closes an unfortunate loophole. I would be in favor of a mandatory delay of three to ten days anyway- but that is not the issue being addressed here. … … … The proposed legislation just closes this loophole and would seem to be in the best interests of those who want access to firearms as well as those who would want to limit such access to only those who have not shown enough responsibility to warrant having access to lethal weaponry.
    Like (64)
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    Obviously, yes. All of you people arguing that it’s unconstitutional are out of your minds. You want ANYONE and EVERYONE to have access and the reality is that shouldn’t be the case. Grow up.
    Like (48)
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    If you institute background checks, what would be the point of NOT waiting for the results before allowing the purchase?? The goal is to identify buyers who would not qualify BEFORE they get the guns in their hands! Am I missing something??
    Like (35)
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    Necessary step to ensure background checks are not evaded in gun sales & resales. Still more loopholes to close looking at the history of mass shootings and how the gunman acquired the weapon(s). https://apnews.com/article/6fa458941f684468a24a992285777d05
    Like (35)
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    YES THEY SHOULD PASS THIS BILL! I AM A GUN OWNER. I have always supported strict gun laws. It has come to pass that more guns is not the answer to the massive gun violations that we have seen. Especially the past 4 years! Please vote yes and pass this bill!
    Like (28)
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    For all of the money, technology,and personnel that the government has, if it takes them MORE than 3 days to get the paperwork for a background check through for this there is something wrong. They certainly know when you've got unpaid this and that. They know when your taxes have not been paid and where and how to find you. So - a simple computer check for this should not be hard for the paper pushers. Come on, this is more smoke and mirrors to make people wait or even make more restriction for those that have done nothing to stop them from owning a gun.
    Like (25)
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    ABSOLUTELY YES
    Like (20)
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    All gun laws are unconstitutional. Shall not be infringed.
    Like (18)
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    Naturally my representative Jack Bergman voted against this bill. He also voted against giving anyone poorer than him a simple $1,400 dollars as well. He did support the tax cuts for the richest among us. He also voted to try to overturn an election that was fair for him but bad for der Führer who was on the same ballot. I have long since realized that Jack represents Betsy DeVos who funded his run for the House as well as the wealthy people from Bay Harbor, a development in Northern Michigan that houses a lot of wealth from all over the country. Way to go Jack; you are voting true to form.
    Like (14)
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    Until we rescind the Second Amendment, it is in force. Additionally, the Constitution prohibits federal meddling in contracts, as between private buyers and sellers. What is to keep the FBI from slow-walking EVERY application? I, for one, don't trust any bureaucracy to do anything timely, and I trust the FBI least of all, about anything.
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    Absolutely! The USA has more guns with resulting more cases of gun violence injuries/death than any other major country on earth. I’d like to see no more guns at all. I’ve seen fatalities from “road rage” when one or both motorists are armed. It is ridiculous. Wean the US from guns, please.
    Like (12)
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    Yes. It’s only common sense. There have been too many instances of people purchasing a firearm and walking out with it and after a background check was completed a felony or other offense showed up on the report.
    Like (12)
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    We need those deadly weapons why, exactly? Ah, yes: to render people dead. No, thanks. Instead, please make it as challenging as possible for anyone to buy them.
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    Why is this even a question???
    Like (11)
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    There are too many guns in too many hands as it is. The first step toward tracking where the guns are and who owns what is to enact universal background checks for all gun sales and exchanges. Somehow the Second Amendment has become a political rallying cry. But even Antonin Scalia said that restrictions could be placed on gun ownership. I also support stringent limits on the numbers of guns and the types of weaponry and ammunition any individual may own. We have self selected “Patriots” forming militias which can challenge law and order anywhere in the country. We saw what happened when discontent was fomented by a self serving demagogue on January 6th. Next time they might come fully armed. I don’t feel safe with lax oversight. Anecdotally I asked a gun rights advocate why gun ownership was so important to him. He said it was to protect himself from “government overreach”. Not self protection. To fight what he perceives as government overreach. We’re breeding anarchists with our gun laws. Law and order is not supported by allowing what we’ve allowed thus far to continue. Enact strong gun control legislation.
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    You mean they don’t! What’s the point of a background check if they don’t?
    Like (10)
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    Yes, gun dealer should have to wait until the background check comes back or they should be responsible for any out come of a crime that is committed, plus be required to get the gun back, if the person fails the background check, not leave it up to others! There should be gun safety classes ID required as well. Owning a gun is a right and a privilege, sort of like driving a car!
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    Waiting for a completed background check is basic common sense otherwise why do it!
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