Higgins Speaks on House Floor in Support of Gun Violence Prevention Legislation
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) spoke from the floor of the House of Representatives on Tuesday to support two measures that the House is expected to vote on this week to close background check loopholes in federal law.
The first bill is H.R. 8, The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. Congressman Higgins is one of 232 Democratic and Republican cosponsors of the legislation, which would close the “gun-show loophole” that allows purchasers to bypass a federal background check when buying firearms from sellers that aren’t federally licensed. H.R. 8 would require all firearm purchases to be subject to a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), with exceptions for transfers between family members and in observation of a will.
The second bill is H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019, would close another loophole by extending the period of time that the FBI conducts background checks from three days to ten days, preventing the transfer of firearms to people who do not pass background checks. Presently, through what’s known as the “Charleston loophole”, named for the mass shooting at a Charleston, SC church in which the gunman failed his background check but was legally able to obtain a gun, a firearm sale is allowed to proceed by default if the purchaser’s background check is not completed within three days. If they later fail the check, the FBI refers the case to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), who then must seize the weapon after the fact. From 2010 to 2014, 15,729 sales proceeded to individuals who failed their checks because they couldn’t be completed in three days.
According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, 35,141 Americans die each year from gun violence, and experts estimate that up to 1 in 5 gun sales in America are done without a background check. These two common sense proposals will help prevent guns from getting into the hands of potentially dangerous people who fail their background checks.
(To access video click above or go to: https://youtu.be/_dCOsPASzFc)
The text of Congressman Higgins’ speech is below:
“Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of action in the fight against gun violence. Congress is finally acting.
“Over the last decade we’ve witnessed gun violence take the lives of innocent children in our schools, terrorize our neighborhoods and harm our fellow colleagues in Congress. Each event invoked a moment of silence.
“We can no longer remain silent. This week we have the opportunity to vote on two pieces of legislation that close loopholes in the gun purchase background check process.
“These aren’t radical or partisan policies; background checks are supported by 97% of Americans, including 97% of gun owners.
“On behalf of the families who’ve lost someone to gun violence and those we long to keep safe from future gun violence, I stand proudly in support of Congressional action to protect our communities from gun violence and urge my colleagues to do the same.”