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HR 1 - Universal Background Checks Act


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IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Ms. Gonzalez (for herselfself, with thanks to Mr. Thompson of California , Mr. Nadler, Mr. Upton, Ms. Jackson Lee, Mr. Smith of New Jersey, Ms. Kelly of Illinois, Mr. Fitzpatrick, and Mrs. McBath) introduced the following bill; 


A BILL

To require a background check for every firearm sale.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Universal Background Checks Act”.

SEC. 2. PURPOSE.

The purpose of this Act is to utilize the current background checks process in the United States to ensure individuals prohibited from gun possession are not able to obtain firearms.

SEC. 3. FIREARMS TRANSFERS.

 

(a) In General.—Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(aa) (1) (A) It shall be unlawful for any person who is not a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to transfer a firearm to any other person who is not so licensed, unless a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer has first taken possession of the firearm for the purpose of complying with subsection (t).

“(B) Upon taking possession of a firearm under subparagraph (A), a licensee shall comply with all requirements of this chapter as if the licensee were transferring the firearm from the inventory of the licensee to the unlicensed transferee.

“(C) If a transfer of a firearm described in subparagraph (A) will not be completed for any reason after a licensee takes possession of the firearm (including because the transfer of the firearm to, or receipt of the firearm by, the transferee would violate this chapter), the return of the firearm to the transferor by the licensee shall not constitute the transfer of a firearm for purposes of this chapter.

“(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to—

“(A) a law enforcement agency or any law enforcement officer, armed private security professional, or member of the armed forces, to the extent the officer, professional, or member is acting within the course and scope of employment and official duties;

“(B) a transfer that is a loan or bona fide gift between spouses, between domestic partners, between parents and their children, including step-parents and their step-children, between siblings, between aunts or uncles and their nieces or nephews, or between grandparents and their grandchildren, if the transferor has no reason to believe that the transferee will use or intends to use the firearm in a crime or is prohibited from possessing firearms under State or Federal law;

“(C) a transfer to an executor, administrator, trustee, or personal representative of an estate or a trust that occurs by operation of law upon the death of another person;

“(D) a temporary transfer that is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, including harm to self, family, household members, or others, if the possession by the transferee lasts only as long as immediately necessary to prevent the imminent death or great bodily harm, including the harm of domestic violence, dating partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, and domestic abuse;

“(E) a transfer that is approved by the Attorney General under section 5812 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or

“(F) a temporary transfer if the transferor has no reason to believe that the transferee will use or intends to use the firearm in a crime or is prohibited from possessing firearms under State or Federal law, and the transfer takes place and the transferee’s possession of the firearm is exclusively—

“(i) at a shooting range or in a shooting gallery or other area designated for the purpose of target shooting;

“(ii) while reasonably necessary for the purposes of hunting, trapping, or fishing, if the transferor—

“(I) has no reason to believe that the transferee intends to use the firearm in a place where it is illegal; and

“(II) has reason to believe that the transferee will comply with all licensing and permit requirements for such hunting, trapping, or fishing; or

“(iii) while in the presence of the transferor.

“(3) It shall be unlawful for a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to transfer possession of, or title to, a firearm to another person who is not so licensed unless the importer, manufacturer, or dealer has provided such other person with a notice of the prohibition under paragraph (1), and such other person has certified that such other person has been provided with this notice on a form prescribed by the Attorney General.”.

(b) Amendment To Section 924(a).—Section 924(a)(5) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking “(s) or (t)” and inserting “(s), (t), or (aa)”.

(c) Rules Of Interpretation.—Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to—

(1) authorize the establishment, directly or indirectly, of a national firearms registry; or

(2) interfere with the authority of a State, under section 927 of title 18, United States Code, to enact a law on the same subject matter as this Act.

(d) Effective Date.—The amendment made by subsections (a) and (b) shall take effect 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

Democratic Representative Litzy Gonzalez

Texas Congressional District 35

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  • Bruce changed the title to HR 1 - Universal Background Checks Act

Madame Speaker,

I have to say that I'm extremely disappointed. I am disappointed by the Majority's decision to put forward an unmitigated and substantial attack on the second amendment rights of Americans; I am disappointed by the Majority's decision to kick the can down the ever-shortening road that leads only to economic ruin, rather than to bring forward a comprehensive plan for dealing with skyrocketing prices; and I am disappointed by the Majority's choice -- and it is a choice -- to prioritize bringing ideological, witch-hunt legislation to the House floor as their first action. I take this as a bad omen: an omen against good-faith negotiating, against bipartisanship, and against good government; that the majority party would spend the first hours of this Congressional session defending a bill which they know will be unpalatable to the minority party and, we should not forget, even some members of their own caucus, while the economy continues to behave like a ticking time bomb, showing signs worse than we saw before the 2008 economic recession that was so disastrous for the middle class in this country.

And my disappointment is made worse, Madame Speaker, because not only is the duly-elected majority party in this chamber negligent; but their bosses in the White House, the President of the United States and his staff, an entire team of economic advisors, couldn't be bothered to put forward their plan, their vision for how we correct the course before we see more significant economic indicators turn down. Nothing. Not a single word, Madame Speaker, from a single one of this country's Democratic leadership on how we wright the ship. No, far more important to wage war against the right to bear arms that was solemnized in the Bill of Rights so many years ago and which has been enjoyed by American citizens for as many years, and more.

It is not that I am against background check legislation. In those states which believe it to be important to them that background checks are undertaken for the sake of gun ownership, it makes sense. However, there are also states in this country who have decided, by the democratic mechanisms afforded them, that citizens should be able to acquire firearms without undergoing a background check process which, they claim, is unduly burdensome and restrictive. This, to me, is an acceptable compromise and it embodies the important value which was part of the foundation of this country: subsidiarity and localism. Madame Speaker, local governments should, as much as possible, make these decisions. This bill, of course, spits on subsidiarity, it spits on local-levels of government, and it is a top-down, heavy-handed approach to the issue -- one which, may I add, will not work. 

If the Majority wishes to ensure that every American should be subjected to a background check before they buy a firearm, then may I suggest that they begin to campaign in the states which do not, currently, require it? Get it on the ballot. If the people there desire it, then it should, surely, not be a difficult prospect; and if they do not desire it, then is it not a gross government overstep to force it on those people? 

Could there, Madame Speaker, be room for compromise on the question of gun violence? Absolutely. Unreservedly, I say that there can be room to work together to achieve some position of compromise. But this isn't it. This isn't even close to it. And the Majority Leader and her caucus know that. Her boss in the White House knows that, too. Because do they want to compromise? No. They want to waste our time in exchange for some red meat to take back home when we ought to be working on correcting the economic situation which threatens to have severe repercussions for a hundred years or more. This is a difficult way to begin a Congressional session on a good footing. I hope that their next action, Madame Speaker, will demonstrate a commitment to the principles of cooperation. 

I yield my time back to the chair.

Cordially Yours,

William Grant of Maryland, and Family

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Madame Speaker,

Universal background checks are supported by 84% of voters including 77% of Republicans according to recent pulling. This legislation would save lives. We shouldn't let people lose their lives because bad politicians want to stand in the way.

I yield.

Democratic Representative Litzy Gonzalez

Texas Congressional District 35

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Madam Speaker,

Is a poll number really the best the majority can do to justify this bill?

Here's the truth the majority won't tell you: Even though they call for gun control and put forward background check legislation in the aftermath of every tragic crime that involves a gun and makes national headlines, background checks wouldn't have stopped most of those incidents. It's not a real solution to the problem. Instead, it's an incremental erosion of the American people's Second Amendment rights. It's another rung on the ladder, another step on the staircase toward making sure it's so difficult it would be practically impossible for everyday Americans to legally own a gun. This bill is nothing more than the majority chipping away at Second Amendment rights, hoping the American people will fall for it and hoping if this bill passes the courts won't rule it unconstitutional -- as they should, because it is.

There are reasonable things we can do to curb the kind of tragic crimes this bill purports to address. For example, we can make sure if someone is judged by mental health professionals to be a danger to themselves or others, that will show up in the background checks that currently happen so the people most likely to be dangerous to innocent people can't obtain a gun. We need to address the root causes of mass shootings, and the root causes of mass shootings aren't guns. Guns are a weapon wielded by people. They can be wielded by law-abiding people in defense of themselves or others, or they can be wielded by criminals to do unspeakable harm. You don't address the latter problem -- and everyone acknowledges it is a problem -- by disarming law-abiding Americans and leaving them defenseless. Stigmatizing guns, pretending it's guns responsible for these horrific crimes and the tragic losses people suffer because of them, that's just disingenuous and it gets us nowhere.

I urge the majority to come to the table to talk about real solutions instead of engaging in this political theater. The American people deserve better.

I yield.

Edited by Brady

Senator Holly Hawthorne (R-AK)

@HollyHawthorne | Join the Freedom Caucus!

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Madame Speaker,

If people that are trying to buy a firearm and are law abiding why would a background check be a problem? Polling is relevant because as much as some want to paint this legislation as some sort of radical ideologically driven legislation it isn't that. If getting points with the NRA is more important to some than representing a vast majority of Americans on the matter then so be it, but don't pretend it'd be representing any sort of common opinion or common interest.

I yield.

Edited by Huffines

Democratic Representative Litzy Gonzalez

Texas Congressional District 35

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Madam Speaker,

When we take office, we don't swear an oath to support and defend the latest poll numbers, we take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. It's true that polls suggest a majority of Americans support the concept of background checks, but it's equally true we don't know how their views might change if asked the question in a different way, with more specific details, or if they were better informed in regard to how ineffective expanded background checks would be in stopping so many of the crimes that make headlines. This is why we don't govern according to poll numbers. We govern according to the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, which protects the American people's right to bear arms.

I yield.

Edited by Brady

Senator Holly Hawthorne (R-AK)

@HollyHawthorne | Join the Freedom Caucus!

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Nancy Pelosi

The bill passes and is recommended to the Senate.

Voting Bloc Total Aye Nay Present
Nationalist Republicans 51 13 37 0
Evangelical Republicans 51 25 25 0
Business Republicans 51 25 25 0
Moderate Conservative Republicans 50 36 13 0
Moderate Liberal Republicans 14 8 5 0
SJW Democrats 52 52 0 0
Progressive Democrats 52 52 0 0
Environmentalist Democrats 52 52 0 0
Moderate Liberal Democrats 52 52 0 0
Moderate Conservative Democrats 14 10 3 0
  325 108 0
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Aye 25
Nay 24
Present 1
       
Votes
State Senator Philosophy Vote
Alabama Tommy Tuberville Nationalist Nay
Alaska Lisa Murkowski Moderate Conservative Nay
Arizona Mark Kelly Environmentalist Aye
Arkansas Tom Cotton Nationalist Nay
California Dianne Feinstein Progressive Aye
Colorado John Hickenlooper Moderate Liberal Aye
Connecticut Chris Murphy Progressive Aye
Delaware Tom Carper Moderate Liberal Aye
Florida Marco Rubio Evangelical Nay
Georgia Raphael Warnock Social Justice Warrior Aye
Hawaii Mazie Hirono Environmentalist Aye
Idaho Mike Crapo Evangelical Nay
Illinois Dick Durbin Progressive Aye
Indiana Mike Braun Evangelical Nay
Iowa Chuck Grassley Business Nay
Kansas Jerry Moran Business Nay
Kentucky Mitch McConnell Business Nay
Louisiana John Kennedy Evangelical Nay
Maine Susan Collins Moderate Conservative Nay
Maryland Ben Cardin Moderate Liberal Aye
Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren Progressive Aye
Michigan Debbie Stabenow Environmentalist Aye
Minnesota Amy Klobuchar Moderate Liberal Aye
Mississippi Roger Wicker Evangelical Nay
Missouri Josh Hawley Nationalist Nay
Montana Jon Tester Moderate Liberal Aye
Nebraska Ben Sasse Evangelical Nay
Nevada Catherine Cortez Masto Social Justice Warrior Aye
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen Moderate Liberal Aye
New Jersey Cory Booker Progressive Aye
New Mexico Martin Heinrich Environmentalist Aye
New York Chuck Schumer Moderate Liberal Aye
North Carolina Richard Burr Business Nay
North Dakota John Hoeven Evangelical Nay
Ohio Rob Portman Moderate Conservative Aye
Oklahoma Jim Inhofe Evangelical Nay
Oregon Ron Wyden Environmentalist Aye
Pennsylvania Bob Casey Jr Moderate Liberal Aye
Rhode Island Sheldon Whitehouse Environmentalist Aye
South Carolina Lindsey Graham Business Nay
South Dakota John Thune Business Nay
Tennessee Marsha Blackburn Nationalist Nay
Texas Ted Cruz Evangelical Nay
Utah Mitt Romney Business Nay
Vermont Bernie Sanders Progressive Aye
Virginia Tim Kaine Moderate Liberal Aye
Washington Patty Murray Environmentalist Aye
West Virginia Joe Manchin Moderate Conservative Present
Wisconsin Ron Johnson Nationalist Nay
Wyoming John Barrasso Evangelical Nay

 

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