H.R.8 - Bipartisan Background Checks Act

Photo of Congress member Representative Mike Thompson

To require a background check for every firearm sale.

You might favor this bill if:
►  You believe that for every gun sale in the country, there should be a background check associated with it. This will keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.

You might oppose this bill if:
►  You believe that universal background checks on firearms sales are unnecessary since background checks do not stop all criminals from getting firearms. This proposal could deprive some individuals of due process law.
Introduced House Senate President Law

02/27/19 UPDATE:
The Bipartisan Background Checks Act passed the House with a 240 / 190 vote. It was amended in the House to clarify a few items, these include:
   - exemptions in instances of imminent threats to someone who is at risk of committing suicide;
   - to include domestic violence, dating partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, and domestic abuse to be considered as "great bodily harm"; and
   - to clarify that the exception for gifts and loans of firearms between parents and their children applies to step-parents and step-children.

The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 would expand current background checks on firearms sales to be universal, therefore requiring a background check on every and all firearm sales.

The intent of the legislation is to "keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them," according to sponsor of the bill Rep. Mike Thompson.

The background checks are to be done at the time of a firearm sale and does not apply to law enforcement agencies or members of the armed forces. It is also not applicable to transfer of guns via loans, gifts between family members, or in the case of temporary transfers.

Temporary transfers are considered to be when a firearm is exchanged between two individuals exclusively at designated places of target shooting, such as a shooting range or for purposes of hunting or fishing.

“Since the inception of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force after the shooting at Sandy Hook, we have been working across the aisle to help prevent gun violence. Today we take a decisive step forward to help save lives right away," said Rep. Thompson (D-CA). "As a gun owner, hunter and supporter of the Second Amendment, I am honored to join with Democratic and Republican colleagues to introduce my universal background checks bill that will help keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.”

“There is no single law that can put an end to mass shootings or gun violence, but there are certainly proactive steps we can take to keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill. When background checks are used, they keep guns out of the hands of people we all agree shouldn’t have guns,” said Rep. King (R-NY), sponsor of the legislation. “As government officials it is our responsibility to protect our citizens, and when it comes to gun violence we must do more. The overwhelming majority of Americans want to see action, and we owe it to the victims and their families to prevent such tragedies from occurring again. I am proud to be the lead Republican sponsor of this legislation.”

The NRA-ILA, the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association (NRA), says the NRA opposes expanding firearm background check systems, because "background checks don’t stop criminals from getting firearms, because some proposals to do so would deprive individuals of due process of law."

The NRA-ILA's website states that according to the Department of Justice "77 percent of criminals in state prison for firearm crimes get firearms through theft, on the black market, from a drug dealer or “on the street,” or from family members and friends, while less than one percent get firearms from dealers or non-dealers at gun shows."


Sponsored by: Rep. Thompson, Mike [D-CA-5].

Cosponsored by: 5 Rep / 225 Dem.

See list of cosponsors.

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