Despite the fact that universal background checks have been shown ineffective at reducing gun violence, House Democrats plan to propose a bill requiring background checks for each firearm sale in the United States. Over the past year, the gun control debate has intensified in the wake of several mass shootings.
While Democrats favor passing additional gun legislation, Republican lawmakers prefer to look at more practical solutions, including increased security measures at schools and other areas. Unfortunately, it appears that neither side will pass any meaningful legislation that would address the issue of homicide in America.
…California’s laws requiring universal background checks did not make a dent in the rate of gun violence.
Democrats Push Background Checks
Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) indicated that he will propose a bill that would impose universal background checks on all gun sales in the United States, and he believes he will have support from some Republican lawmakers. Peter King (R-NY) has partnered with Thompson in two attempts to introduce the proposal in Congress over the past four years, but House Speaker Paul Ryan refused to bring the measure to a vote.
Now that Ryan is leaving and the Democrats have taken control of the House, they believe the legislation will make it. However, it is unlikely that the bill would be passed in the Senate, which is still controlled by the GOP. Current federal law requires licensed firearm sellers to run background checks on customers. Private sellers are sometimes required to perform them as well, depending on the state.
While the Democrats argue that universal background checks will prevent mass shootings and other types of homicides, it has not worked in the states that have enacted similar rules. A recent study demonstrated that California’s laws requiring universal background checks did not make a dent in the rate of gun violence.
GOP Proposed Legislation
Democratic lawmakers are not the only ones attempting to pass legislation designed to reduce gun violence. Earlier this year, GOP representatives introduced several bills of their own.
One such proposal would provide $50 million per year for school safety improvements. These include training for teachers and students. Another bill – which is sponsored by 30 Democrats and Republicans – would increase school security funding by $1 billion over ten years. Additionally, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced a proposal that would allocate education funding to enable schools to hire mental health counselors.
Of course, Democrats were not happy with the fact that none of the GOP’s proposals include further restrictions on guns. Nevertheless, they have stated that they would support the increase in federal funding for these measures.
So, What About Guns?
So far, the legislative branch has not sufficiently addressed the issue of gun violence in the United States. Besides strengthening background checks, funding research into gun violence, and banning bump stocks, none of the other proposals have become law, and it does not appear that any movement on the issue will be made anytime soon.
The Democrats have regained control of the House, but not the Senate, so it is not likely that their proposal on universal background checks will be passed. But that’s not a guarantee that a Republican measure that increases school security funding will either. The GOP may not decide to take significant action on gun violence, even though the Democrats appear to be open to increased funding for prevention programs. It seems that whenever a mass shooting occurs, both sides of the gun control debate aggressively push their arguments until the media decides to move on to other issues. However, all the discussion in the world is meaningless unless Congress is willing to act – and unfortunately, it does not appear the nation will see any solutions in the near future.
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