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Suozzi, House Pass Two Pieces of Legislation to Expand Background Checks and Curb Gun Violence

March 11, 2021
Press Release
Suozzi: “Despite COVID, gun violence is still a major crisis in the United States”; Last year, 43,000 Americans died from gun violence, 23,000 of which was suicide by gun

Today, Congressman Tom Suozzi voted in support of two pieces of gun violence prevention legislation, both of which Suozzi cosponsors, that would expand background checks, close the “Charleston Loophole,” and prevent gun violence across the country.  


Last year, in the middle of a global pandemic, where millions of Americans were forced to stay inside, the United States still saw 43,000 people lose their lives to gun violence. 


The issue of gun violence is personal to Congressman Suozzi. One of his constituents, Linda Beigel Schulman lost her son, Scott, in 2018 during the Parkland shooting. On Long Island, they have worked together to advocate for gun-violence prevention laws (including red flag laws) and to echo the message that this should be a non-partisan issue. Long Island alone has experienced over 700 incidents of gun violence since 2014.


“Expanded background checks are common sense laws supported by millions of New Yorkers and even gun owners,” said Suozzi. “Now with a Democratic-controlled Senate and Joe Biden in the White House, our country now has the opportunity to pass meaningful gun violence prevention legislation. Too many people have lost their lives to gun violence for us not to act.”  


“Congressman Suozzi gets that gun violence prevention should not be a partisan issue and is fighting for the safety of everyone. He does not speak as a politician, he speaks as a father who cares deeply, and as a person who is determined to make safety his primary issue,” said Linda Beigel Schulman. “I stand with Congressman Suozzi for reasonable gun safety legislation so that we can all take a deep breath and feel safe in our everyday lives.”


H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, is common sense legislation that would require a background check for every gun sale or transfer, with some reasonable and explicit exceptions that, for example, allow a person: to give a gun as a gift to a family member; loan a gun for hunting or target shooting; or temporarily transfer a gun for self-defense. This would address background check loopholes. Currently, a person is not required to undergo a background check if they are purchasing a gun from an unlicensed gun seller – such as buying a firearm at a gun show, online, or person-to-person.


The Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021, H.R. 1446, would address the so-called “Charleston Loophole,” which, under current law, allows the sale of a firearm to proceed if a background check is not completed within three business days. The “Charleston Loophole” allowed Dylan Roof to carry out the massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which killed nine innocent people, in 2015. 


Unfortunately, the incident that allowed Dylan Roof to obtain his firearm is not isolated. In 2017 alone, more than 4,000 guns were sold to people with criminal records, mental illnesses, and other circumstances that would normally cause them to fail a background check, due to the inability to complete a background check within three business days.


National polls consistently show that universal background checks on firearms are supported by over 90 percent of Americans, including Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.  The polls also show that universal background checks are even supported by 85 percent of gun owners.