A Path Forward for Universal Background Checks

Mark Barden holds a picture of his son, Daniel, while testifying in favor of legislation.

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In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, Sandy Hook Promise worked tirelessly with federal lawmakers and the administration to require Universal Background Checks for firearm sales and make meaningful improvements to keep children safe from gun violence.

Despite our best efforts — and the support of more than 97% of Americans  — the legislation failed to pass the U.S. Senate. We’ve continued to fight every day since then, and now, eight years later, we see a path forward.

The Biden-Harris administration has an opportunity to build upon this work. With bipartisan congressional support, they have an opportunity to create a safer nation for generations to come. In the coming weeks, the U.S. Congress will re-introduce Universal Background Check legislation, and we are ready to help get it across the finish line.

The Time is Now

The time for reforms has never been more urgent. Gun violence has become the second leading cause of death for youth in our country. And teenagers nationwide, particularly in the wake of recent violence, have been stepping up and calling for more reform efforts. Teenagers are seeing their classmates die in the streets or take their own lives. And it’s time we start listening to what they have to say. 

“It’s frustrating that our ‘leaders’ can’t come together, despite their disagreements, to find a solution to the violence that’s plaguing our country,” said Lena, a resident of Parkland, Florida who serves on our National Youth Advisory Board. “I want to see them find common ground, establish their goals and work for the welfare of all Americans.”

“I am hopeful that after lawmakers have experienced a lockdown, they will realize how pressing the threat of violence is in our society and how traumatizing it is for children to live with the effects of gun violence.”

Closing the Loopholes

There is no single law that can put an end to mass shootings or gun violence. But there are proactive steps we can and must take now to ensure our children and communities are safe. Universal Background Checks are crucial to keep guns out of the hands of prohibited buyers. 

More than 20 states have expanded the federal background check system that closes the private sales loophole. This loophole lets private sellers sell guns to absolute strangers without conducting a background check.  One in every five gun transfers occurring in the U.S. happen without a background check.

By expanding background checks, we can help keep firearms away from individuals deemed a threat to themselves or others. It’s been a long road to get here — more than eight years. But we’re ready to work with the new Congress and Administration to finally get Universal Background Checks signed into law.

Tell Lawmakers What You Think

Reach out to your federal lawmakers and tell them that you’d like to see common sense gun reform including Universal Background Checks.