House Passes Bills Expanding Background Checks for Gun Sales

House Passes 2 Bills Expanding Background Checks for Gun Sales

The U.S. House of Representatives passed 2 bills earlier this month that would tighten firearm sales regulations and expand background checks on gun purchases. This marks the first significant movement on gun control since Democrats took control of both chambers of Congress and the White House. The two bills - H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446 - could mark the beginning of an overhaul of how firearms are bought and sold in the United States. Let’s break down what each of these bills mean. 


H.R. 8, or The Bipartisan Background Check Acts of 2021, would expand background checks on individuals seeking to purchase or transfer firearms between private parties. It’s a background checks package meant to enhance reviews of those seeking firearms. While it would not create a registry, instead the legislation would expand the cases in which a background check is required for the sale or transfer for a firearm, including for private individuals and groups, and applying to online sales. This bill can presumptively ban any private transfer for a firearm. Essentially any time a firearm passes hands, the transfer would have to be processed by an FFL, or licensed dealer, which involves fees, background checks and government-accessible paperwork documenting the sale. 


H.R. 1446, or the Enhanced Background Check Acts of 2021, is a bill that also revises background check requirements for firearm transfers from a Federal Firearms Licensee to an unlicensed person. Specifically, it increases the amount of time, from 3 business days to a minimum of 10 business days, that an FFL must wait to receive a completed background check prior to transferring a firearm to a licensed person. It is designed to close the “Charleston loophole”, a gap in federal law that lets gun sales proceed without a completed background check if three businesses days elapsed. Named so for the 2015 incident that occurred in Charleston, South Carolina. The major concern is this Bill would allow unelected government bureaucrats to indefinitely delay firearm purchases for law-abiding Americans – depriving them of the ability to defend themselves and their families.


The growing concern among legal gun owners is that together these bills could potentially transform the right to obtain firearms to a privilege administered by the government. Some argue that giving the government total authority to document and oversee the movement of every legal gun in America will only crackdown on law-abiding gun owners, while leaving criminals operating outside the bounds of the law untouched. If you feel strongly and want to take action, you can urge your U.S. Senators to vote “No” on H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446 here.