[[{"fid":"451","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"link_text":null,"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"style":"height: 201px; width: 400px; float: left;","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]]Today, House Democrats introduced H.R. 8—a bill requiring universal background checks for gun sales in the United States. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery and Berks Counties) will cosponsor the bill.

"Last year alone, nearly 40,000 Americans were killed by gun violence, and another 80,000 were wounded, caught in the crossfire—a rate twenty-five times higher than any other developed nation. It is past time we recognize this epidemic as a public health crisis, and treat it with the seriousness it deserves," said Rep. Dean. "This universal background check bill is legislation that will save lives."

Experts have long known that universal background checks are the most effective and efficient way to prevent gun deaths.

The new legislation would:

  • Require background checks for any gun sale (with exceptions for law enforcement and firearm transfers between friends and family members)
  • Expand background checks for commercial, online, and gun show sales

"Over 90% of the public support universal background checks. We were elected to represent the people and to improve the lives of our constituents, and this bill does both," Rep. Dean said. "As legislators, we have a responsibility to pass this legislation because it will keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of criminals."

Dean joined Speaker Pelosi, Rep. Mike Thompson, and former Rep. Gabby Giffords at the bill's unveiling. Eight years ago today, Giffords was nearly killed in a Tucson, Arizona shooting that left six people dead and more than a dozen wounded. Since then, the United States has witnessed a wave of horrific mass shootings, but a Republican Congress chose not to act. By contrast, Giffords has shown extraordinary courage—first in her fight to recover, and then in her ceaseless advocacy for smart gun safety legislation.

Rep. Dean has also long advocated stronger gun safety laws. After Sandy Hook, then-State Rep. Dean founded and served as Co-Chair of the PA SAFE Caucus in the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives—an active coalition of legislators and advocates dedicated to ending gun violence.

Gun safety was also a central part of Rep. Dean's run for Congress. Shortly after winning election to the House, she joined the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

Today's legislation has already earned bipartisan support. "The American people understand that gun violence is out of control," said Rep. Dean. "They want to know that they can send their kids to school, the mall, or their place of worship without fearing for their lives. Enough is enough."



For more information, please contact Matt Bieber, Communications Director for Rep. Dean, at 202-569-2879 or Matthew.Bieber@mail.house.gov.