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Spotlight: Universal Background Checks

In February 2019, the House passed a universal background checks bill.

In the weeks and months since, El Paso and Virginia Beach experienced two of the deadliest mass shootings in our country’s history.

Countless lives lost, futures cut short, communities ravaged. And while Mitch McConnell has had nearly one year to bring background checks up for a vote in the Senate, he has done absolutely nothing.

This week, we’re focusing our Off the Sidelines Spotlight on the fight for meaningful gun safety reforms and how we can hold our elected officials accountable.

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Gun violence in America is an epidemic. According to the Giffords Law Center:

  • The U.S. gun suicide rate is 10 times higher than that of other high-income countries

Earlier this year, the House passed HR 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which would have closed the federal loophole that allows felons, domestic abusers, fugitives and other prohibited purchasers from buying guns from unlicensed sellers without a background check.

Despite an August poll that found that more than 90 percent of Americans — regardless of party affiliation — support universal background checks, Mitch McConnell refuses to bring the bill up for a simple yes/no vote in the Senate.

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READ | Everytown for Gun Safety’s fact sheet on the power of background checks to save lives

WATCH | MSNBC’s profile of Rep. Lucy McBath, who ran for Congress in 2018 after losing her son, Jordan, to gun violence

READ | This article about how guns and domestic violence are much more lethal for women of color

READ | Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s powerful op-ed about the gun lobby’s chokehold on Congress

LISTEN | To this five-part podcast from Vermont Public Radio on how a Republican governor in a rural state changed his mind on gun laws

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58 percent of American adults, or someone they care for, have experienced gun violence in their lifetime — and unless Congress takes action, that number will continue to rise:

Call on Mitch McConnell to allow the Senate to vote on the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and enact common sense gun safety reforms.

You can also get more involved in the fight to end gun violence through one of the many organizations working on the front lines. Here are just a few:

Written by

Off The Sidelines is @SenGillibrand’s movement to help women run for office—and win.

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