In light of recent mass shootings in Santa Fe, Parkland, Las Vegas, and other cities across the country, it is clearer than ever that our approach to gun policy and gun violence must change. One such necessary change is to close background check loopholes. Currently, background checks are mandatory for commercial gun sales but not for purchases made through private sellers, at gun shows, or online.
To fix this serious problem, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced the Background Check Expansion Act, along with 31 Democrat co-sponsors, which would make background checks nearly universal. The bill would close the "gun show loophole" by mandating that all sellers run potential buyer information through the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It would also require a licensed firearms dealer run a NICS check on buyers purchasing a gun from a private seller. The bill maintains some exceptions for law enforcement officials, loans for hunting and sporting events, or for immediate self-defense.
In the House, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Pete King (R-NY) introduced the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, H.R. 4240, a compromise bill that would close some gun show loopholes and provide states with resources to strengthen their current background check systems. While not as comprehensive as Sen. Murphy's bill, it will provide a step forward in the fight to end gun violence. Reps Thompson and King also filed a discharge petition that, with signatures from a simple majority of House members, will force a vote on the bill.
While both bills face tough hurdles, especially from the NRA gun lobby, public support for expanded background check has risen to 90%. The time for Congress to finally take action against rampant gun violence in this country is now.
Three calls to make: Senators Kennedy and Cassidy, and Representative Richmond or Scalise
Senator Bill Cassidy: DC Office: 202-224-5824; Metairie office: 504-838-0130; Monroe: 318-324-2111; Lake Charles: 337-493-5398; Alexandria: 318-448-7176
Senator John Kennedy: DC office: 202-224-4623; New Orleans: 504-581-6190; Lafayette: (337) 269-5980; Monroe: (318) 361-1489; Alexandria: (318) 445-2892; Baton Rouge: (225) 926-8033; Shreveport: (318) 670-5192
Because of how Congressional districts are drawn, New Orleans residents have either Richmond or Scalise as their representative. If you don't know who your representative is, you can look it up by entering your home address on the U.S. House of Representatives website.
Representative Cedric Richmond - in DC at (202) 225-6636, and in New Orleans at (504) 288-3777
Representative Steve Scalise - in DC at (202) 225-3015, and in Metairie at (504) 837-1259
Hello. My name is [Your Name] and I'm an active voter from New Orleans, ZIP Code 70118 [Or wherever you’re from].
[WHEN CALLING THE SENATORS]: I'm calling to ask the Senator to support S. 2009, the Background Check Expansion Act. Closing loopholes that allow the wrong people to buy guns is a necessary step Congress must take to strengthen our current gun policies and protect Americans from the rampant gun violence devastating our country.
[WHEN CALLING YOUR HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE]: I'm calling to ask the Congressman to support H.R. 4240, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, and sign the discharge petition to bring this bill to the floor for a vote. Closing loopholes that allow the wrong people to buy guns is a necessary step Congress must take to strengthen our current gun policies and protect Americans from the rampant gun violence devastating our country.
Thank you for your time and attention.
This call is adapted from 5calls.org, which can be viewed here.