NewsLocal News


Rep. Al Lawson votes for 'commonsense gun violence prevention' bills

Background Checks
Posted at 12:14 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 12:14:15-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05) voted to pass H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and H.R. 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act, two commonsense gun violence prevention measures to require background checks on all gun sales and close the Charleston Loophole that allowed the hate crime at Mother Emanuel AME Church.

“In North Florida and communities across America, too many families have been devastated by the epidemic of gun violence,” Rep. Lawson said. “Tragically, throughout the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis, the gun violence crisis has only grown worse. On behalf of every victim, survivor and family, I will continue to fight for strong, effective action to help address the epidemic of gun violence in our communities. Enough is enough.”

These two pieces of legislation include commonsense measures to end gun violence and make background checks universal:

  • H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act – which requires a background check for every gun sale or transfer to ensure that individuals already prohibited from gun possession under federal law, such as felons, domestic abusers and those who are considered a danger to themselves or others, are not able to obtain firearms.
  • H.R. 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act – which would end the Charleston Loophole that enabled the horrific hate crime at Mother Emanuel AME Church that killed nine innocent people. The Charleston Loophole currently allows the sale of a firearm to proceed if a background check is not completed within three business days.

Since 1994, when background checks were first implemented, they have stopped more than 3 million dangerous people from getting guns. In 2017 alone, due to background checks, over 170,000 sales were denied – 39 percent of them to convicted felons. Every day where background checks are used they stop more than 160 felons and some 50 domestic abusers from buying a gun.

Yet, due to existing loopholes that allow unlicensed gun sellers to sell guns without a background check, the background check system is not working as well as it should, with up to 80 percent of firearms used for criminal purposes currently sold without background checks. The Charleston Loophole alone allows the sale of hundreds of thousands of guns to potentially dangerous individuals each year. Cases of the Charleston Loophole exception are particularly common in domestic violence cases.