Support Comprehensive Background Checks
S. 42 The Background Check Expansion Act
S. 42 is a comprehensive background check bill which was introduced on January 8, the 8th anniversary of the tragic Tucson shooting by Senator Chris Murphy, the Senator whose district includes Newtown, CT. The bill requires background checks for almost all firearms purchases and closes the private sale and gun show ‘loophole’. It is co-sponsored by 41 senators. The House passed its version of the bill over 100 days ago. It is time for the Senate to move forward!
The ACTION: Call or visit your Senator’s office and express your support for S. 42.
Sample call script
Hi, my name is [name ]. I am a constituent of Senator [name] and my zipcode is [ zip ]. I am calling today to ask Senator [name] to co-sponsor H.R.8/S.42, the universal background check bill and begin to reduce gun violence in this country. Background checks have broad support among all groups of Americans and in Congress. Especially in the wake of tragedies like the Tree of Life shooting and all of the many many shootings we barely hear about, disproportionately affecting communities of color, it is time for effective legislation. If you are a member of one of the three TOL congregations or the Squirrel Hill community, or if you have personally been impacted by gun violence, tell your story. Will Senator [name] cosponsor this bill? I will be watching for their co-sponsorship. Thank you.
** If you are calling Senator Toomey - make sure to state you support S.42, NOT the Toomey-Manchin Bill from 2013. That bill does NOT cover private sales of guns, a HUGE loophole.**
Note: Even if your Senators are co-sponsors it is still extremely important to call them and thank them. Remember, they are getting calls from groups which oppose any sensible gun legislation.
Bonus action: Call Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham and urge them to hold public hearings and a VOTE on S. 42. Contact the Senate Judiciary Committee at (202)224-5225. Call Senator McConnell at (202) 224-2541. Call Senator Graham at (202) 224-5972. Members of the Judiciary Committee here.
Current federal law requires background checks to purchase firearms ONLY for guns purchased through a licensed firearms dealer. Between 22 and 40% of recent firearms transfers occurred WITHOUT a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. In Pennsylvania, private handgun sales require a background check, but private long gun sales (such as for the AR-15) do not.
Background checks WORK. According to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System has prevented over two million felons and other prohibited persons from purchasing firearms.
Americans overwhelmingly support background checks. This includes Republicans and Democrats, gun owners and non-gun owners. Background checks are simply common sense.
H. R. 8 Update - The House passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act on February 27, 2019.