Gun Control Top of Democrats' List as Bipartisan Bill Is Introduced to Expand Background Checks

On the eighth anniversary of the shooting of former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrats will introduce a bipartisan bill to tackle gun violence on Tuesday.

After Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives, a key plank of Democrat policy will see a push for increased background checks on those wishing to buy guns online and at gun shows.

Read more: Tamera Mowry calls for gun control after niece died in Thousand Oaks shooting

Although it would seek to impose universal background checks for the purchase of firearms, the bill will not include any move toward an assault weapons ban.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who strongly supports changing U.S. gun culture, said that Giffords, who was shot at a constituent meeting in Arizona on January 8, 2011, would take part in the unveiling of the bill on Tuesday.

"Our Democratic majority will press relentlessly for bipartisan progress to end the epidemic of gun violence on our streets, in our schools and in our places of worship. Enough is enough," Pelosi said in her first speech to the House last Thursday.

"We will make our communities safer and keep our sacred promise to the victims, survivors and families of gun violence by passing common-sense bipartisan background check legislation," she said, the Washington Examiner reported.

Although the Democrats now control the House, it is unclear whether the Senate will pass the measure amid Republican opposition. The bill had more than two dozen Republican co-sponsors in 2017, although some of the sponsors have left office.

When the legislation was first introduced in 2015 by Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Representative Mike Thompson, a California Democrat, and co-sponsored by Representative Pete King, a New York Republican, the National Rifle Association opposed it, saying it did not address the "broken mental health system and prosecuting criminals. Further, criminals will never submit to such a system, so it will never truly be universal."

The closest the Senate came to backing gun-control legislation to increase background checks was in 2013, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, but it lost by four votes, The Washington Post reported.

More than 100,000 Americans are victims of gun violence every year, according to the American Medical Association, with 38,000 people being fatally shot and 85,000 people injured.

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A gun show on November 24, 2018, in Naples, Florida. House Democrats will introduce a bill including background checks for gun purchases. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Gun Control Top of Democrats' List as Bipartisan Bill Is Introduced to Expand Background Checks | U.S.