As the House of Representatives prepares this week to vote on H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, two former GOP Congressmen wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post titled “We are conservatives. We urge our fellow Republicans to support this gun safety bill.” In their piece, Ryan Costello and Carlos Curbelo, who represented Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District and Florida’s 26th Congressional District, respectively, urge their former colleagues in both chambers of Congress to “to listen to the vast majority of the American people and support a law to require background checks on all gun sales.”
“This week, for the first time in more than two decades, the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a vote on major stand-alone gun safety legislation in the form of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. As conservatives with a deep respect for the Second Amendment and as former Republican members of Congress, we urge our fellow Republicans in the House and Senate to get behind this legislation to require background checks on all gun sales.
“If you watch a lot of cable news or subscribe to National Rifle Association newsletters, you would be forgiven for believing that gun safety vs. believing in the Second Amendment is an either-or proposition. The truth is, the American people know that our right to protect our families goes hand in hand with laws that help keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.
“The Bipartisan Background Checks Act is not only consistent with the Second Amendment; it’s also as common-sense as any piece of legislation we voted on during our combined eight years in Congress.
“This legislation is firmly in line with Republican principles. It’s a way to enforce existing laws and to make good on our talk about increasing public safety.
“This legislation isn’t just good policy; it’s also good politics, and it’s what the American people want. Support for background checks on all gun sales routinely measures above 80 percent in public polling, including support from a vast majority of Republicans and gun owners. It’s an opportunity for Republicans to meet people where they stand on an issue they care deeply about.”
The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 was introduced with ten original cosponsors, five Democrats and five Republicans and now has 233 sponsors in total. The bipartisan support of this life-saving legislation reflects public sentiment when it comes to gun safety and background checks specifically. Poll after poll demonstrates overwhelming support for closing the background check loophole. According to polling by Pew Research Center, 85 percent of Americans support background checks on gun sales, including 79 percent of Republicans.
Background checks are the foundation of any effective effort to reduce gun violence and are associated with lower rates of gun murders, suicides and gun trafficking in states that require them for all gun sales.
If you’re interested in talking to a policy expert ahead of this week’s historic vote, please don’t hesitate to reach out.