Congress Advances Significant Gun Control Legislation

By Shani Saxon Feb 14, 2019

It has been one year since a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The House Committee on the Judiciary fittingly marked the solemn anniversary by passing a measure yesterday (February 13) that "would require background checks for all gun sales and most gun transfers within the United States," The Washington Post reports.

After nine hours of debating the details, the committee advanced the legislation with a 21-14 vote. The next step is a vote on the House floor. The Post reports this significant gun legislation has the support of "at least five Republicans."

As Colorlines has previously reported, gun violence in the United States is a human rights crisis that is exceptionally painful for communities of color, with Black and Latinx people disproportionately impacted by firearm homicides. 

"The U.S. government is prioritizing gun ownership over basic human rights. While many solutions have been offered, there has been a stunning lack of political will to save lives," Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said in a statement last fall. "Despite the huge number of guns in circulation and the sheer numbers of people killed by guns each year, there is a shocking lack of federal regulations that could save thousands."

After years of congressional inaction, the Democrats are aggressively pushing to enact gun control laws, according to The Post. Representative Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), spoke on the House floor Wednesday before holding a moment of silence for the victims of the Parkland shooting. "I ask that we work together not as Democrats and Republicans, but as Americans, to end this silence with action to make all of our communities safer from gun violence," he said. "I ask that this moment of silence not be in vain."