Email your senators: Pass universal background checks

GBCS staff in orange for gun violence awareness

On Feb. 27, 2019, the House of Representatives passed The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 8), the first gun violence prevention legislation to pass in the U.S. Congress in 20 years.

The promise of this legislation hinges upon its companion bill in the Senate, the 2019 Background Check Expansion Act (S. 42). Tell the Senate — pass universal background checks!

Together, H.R. 8 and S. 42 would create long overdue changes in U.S. law to establish background checks as an essential part of gun sales.

Currently, 22% of all guns sold in the U.S. are purchased through unlicensed and private sellers without a background check. H.R. 8 and S. 42 would close that loophole, which currently allows people who are ill-advised or barred from buying and owning guns to go around the national background check system.

The United Methodist Church calls on its congregations to advocate at the local and national level for universal background checks as part of our call to pursue “the reality of God’s dream of shalom” in Micah 4:1-4. (Book of Resolutions, 3428)

Background checks prevent gun violence. Since 1994, more than 3 million people legally prohibited from owning a gun have been denied the chance to purchase one because of existing background check laws. And yet, every day in the U.S. nearly 350 people still are shot, and almost 100 die in gun violence (34 from murder, 59 by suicide). That adds up to over 124,750 people shot and 35,000 killed (12,250 murdered, 21,500 suicides) by gunshot in the U.S. every year.

Those numbers should be unacceptable to all. Inaction is not an option. Today, there is finally a chance to advance meaningful legislation in Congress to address gun violence. Tell your senator – pass background checks now!