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Rep. Bass Applauds Background Check Legislation

February 27, 2019
Press Release
WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, delivered the below remarks before the House of Representatives passed the first piece of meaningful gun reform legislation in years. Watch below.

Full Remarks:

Mr. Chair, I rise in strong support of H.R. 8, the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019,” which will extend the current federal background check requirement to unlicensed sellers of guns. It is about time that Congress takes this issue seriously and I’m pleased that this bipartisan bill has been brought to the House floor with the urgency this issue deserves.   

In recent years, our nation has experienced an increase in mass shootings, and our nation is appropriately horrified.  However, mass shootings are just one symptom of our gun violence epidemic.  The daily toll of shootings occurs in communities across our country, on our streets, in our schools, and even in our houses of worship.  

As Aalayah Eastmond testified before the Judiciary Committee earlier this month, one year after the terrible shooting that took the lives of 17 students and staff and injured 17 others at her high school in Parkland, Florida, “Minority communities bear the heaviest brunt of gun violence in this country.”  

And the impact on our young people is simply unacceptable.  Every day, 47 children and teens are shot in this country.  Eight of these young people die, and 39 are shot and survive.  

Citizens across this country, such as Diane Latiker, who also testified before the Committee, are taking it upon themselves to organize and engage in community-based efforts to reduce gun violence and assist the young people it effects.  But we in Congress must match their courage and commitment with action of our own.   

I support H.R. 8 because it will reduce gun violence by narrowing the avenues for criminals and other prohibited persons from obtaining guns.  

Certainly, there is no single change to our gun laws that will prevent every shooting.  But enacting measures that will help prevent some of them is clearly the right thing to do.  That is why I support this bill and ask that my colleagues do the same.

I yield back the balance of my time.