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Bipartisan Reintroduction of Background Checks Legislation Comes as U.S. Gun Violence Soars

Common-Sense Bill Can Help Prevent More Shootings Nationwide 

Newtown, CT – Today, H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (D-CA), along with original cosponsors House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Lucy McBath (D-GA) with strong support from Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) and the entire Connecticut congressional delegation.  Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) is leading the legislation in the U.S. Senate, which was also reintroduced today with support from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).   

This bill comes as gun violence and mass shootings continue to rise nationwide, along with record-breaking gun sales. Despite the pandemic, gun deaths have hit historic levels and more than 300,000 guns have been purchased without a background check. According to Quinnipiac research, at least 97% of U.S. adults support requiring background checks for all gun purchases. 

If passed, the bill would expand the background check requirement for nearly every gun sale occurring in the U.S., including so-called “private sales” at gun shows and over the internet. Background checks have been proven to save lives and reduce levels of gun violence in states that have expanded background checks to all sales, protecting communities and retailers alike.  

Sandy Hook Promise – a leading gun violence prevention organization whose co-founding families have been tirelessly advocating for the passage of expanded background checks since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012 where their loved ones were killed – released the following statement:  

“While still grieving our children and loved ones in the aftermath of their murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School, we worked tirelessly to try to pass Universal Background Checks. We did this because this bill is a necessary first legislative step to ensuring that no more families experience the excruciating pain of losing a child to gun violence,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, and father of Daniel who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. “Eight years later, we again call on every member of Congress to do their part to protect our children from gun violence: vote to pass Universal Background Checks immediately. We cannot afford to wait any longer.” 

“Background checks are simple, easy, and they save lives. That’s why more than 90% of Americans support our legislation to make sure no guns are sold in this country without a check,” said Sen. Chris Murphy. “Joe Biden and hundreds of congressional candidates from both parties ran on the issue of 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% 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.  I look forward to working across the aisle to get background checks legislation across the finish line.” 

“No check, no gun buy, should be the rule. Connecticut has already seen background checks save lives in our state, but guns don’t respect state borders. A powerful political movement has been mobilized – reflecting more than 90% of Americans who support expanding federal background checks,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal. “Congress has the moral imperative to enact sensible reforms like Universal Background Checks to prevent more tragedies. We have no time to waste,” he continued. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the Biden Administration to swiftly pass such commonsense gun violence prevention measures. We must put an end to the American epidemic of gun violence.” 

“Gun safety is an issue that is deeply personal for me,” said Rep. Jahana Hayes. “Universal background checks are supported by over 90% of Americans. This is not a partisan issue. This is a commonsense solution to a problem that affects every community across the country. I thank my colleague Congressman Mike Thompson for this leadership in the House and Senator Chris Murphy for his tireless work in the Senate. I would also like to thank the incredible advocates in my district and across the state of Connecticut who have made this day possible. I look forward to this vital legislation being considered on the floor of the House and Senate and being signed into law by President Biden.” 

The Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund has helped pass more than a dozen bipartisan laws to strengthen background checks and create Extreme Risk Protection Orders. The organization led the work to pass the bipartisan STOP School Violence Act of 2018 (H.R. 4909/S. 2495) that is already helping to train millions of students and adults to “know the signs” of gun violence and how to act to prevent it, stopping potential tragedies across the country. 

About the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund  

Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization committed to protecting all children from gun violence in schools, homes, and communities. The SHP Action Fund champions a holistic policy platform that promotes gun safety, youth mental health, and violence prevention education. The organization works at the state and federal level to pass nonpartisan legislation through inclusive partnerships, diverse grassroots education, and community mobilization. It is part of Sandy Hook Promise, founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.   


Media Contact:  

Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646.761.5579