March 11, 2021
Press Release
Bipartisan legislation, co-sponsored by Morelle, will help prevent guns from ending up in the hands of criminals

(Washington, D.C.) – Today Congressman Joe Morelle voted to enact H.R. 8, The Bipartisan Background Checks act, and H.R. 1446, The Enhanced Background Checks Act – common-sense gun reforms that will strengthen background checks and work to keep dangerous firearms out of the hands of criminals. Rep. Morelle co-sponsors both pieces of legislation.

“It shouldn’t be easier to obtain a gun than it is to get your driver’s license,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “We have the power to prevent so my incidents of senseless gun violence by enacting these common-sense reforms. I’m proud to co-sponsor and vote to enact this historic legislation that brings us one step closer to real, meaningful nationwide gun reform.”

A 2017 Harvard University study found that one in five gun owners purchased their firearm without a background check, translating to millions of guns obtained without knowing whether the purchaser had a history of criminal activity, domestic abuse, assault, or mental illness. Over 90% of Americans—including gun owners—support a universal background check system.

H.R. 8 and H.R. 1146 are key legislative priorities for the House of Representatives and would enact universal background checks on all gun sales. Specifically:

  • The Bipartisan Background Checks Act strengthens background checks to include all private firearm sales, including those at gun shows, conducted online, or through classified ads. This closes a dangerous loophole that previously exempted unlicensed sellers from having to perform any background check before selling a firearm, allowing guns to easily flow onto the black market and into the hands of criminals.
  • The Enhanced Background Checks Act closes the “Charleston loophole,” which is most infamously associated with the 2015 shooting at Emmanuel AME Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., where nine Americans had their lives taken from them by an individual seeking to spread hatred. Under current law, the sale of a firearm is allowed to proceed after three days even if a background check has not been completed. This bill would ensure the sale does not go through until a thorough background check has been done.

“This marks an important first step towards the gun reform our nation needs, but there is still so much more work to be done,” added Congressman Morelle. “That’s why I’ll continue working alongside my colleagues to ban assault weapons, address the growing instances of gun store burglaries, and strengthen “Red Flag” laws to better protect our communities from tragedy.”

Having passed the House, H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446 will now be transmitted to the Senate for consideration.