Newtown Action Alliance Statement on the Introduction of the  Universal Background Check Legislation in the 116th Congress 

For Immediate Release

January 9, 2019


John Kelley



Newtown Action Alliance Statement on the Introduction of the 

Universal Background Check Legislation in the 116th Congress 

Newtown, CT - Po Murray, Chairwoman of the Newtown Action Alliance, released the following statement in response to the introduction of the federal universal background check legislation in the 116th Congress: 

The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 was introduced yesterday on the eight-year anniversary of the shooting in Tucson when eight people were killed and 12 people were injured, including Gabby Giffords. We fully support a bill that requires a background check on all gun sales. Universal background checks are supported by 97% of Americans. 

After six years of Republican leadership blocking a vote on the background check bill in the House of Representatives, we are grateful that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson have made gun violence prevention a priority. The National Rifle Association (NRA) lost its majority in the House of Representatives and we expect this bipartisan gun control bill to pass. We call on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a vote on the Senate companion bill being introduced by Connecticut Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal. 

Gun violence is a public health emergency. Americans should be alarmed that the number of gun deaths rose to nearly 40,000 in 2017---the highest level in 50 years. This is due to unfettered access to guns due to the influence of NRA money on Congress. Congress has not passed a single substantive federal gun control bill in 25 years. We had believed that a federal background check bill would easily pass after the senseless shooting of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2013. Sadly, the House of Representatives failed to vote on the expanded background check bill and 45 members of the Senate defeated the bill.

Passing background check legislation is an important first step to reduce gun deaths and injuries in America. Congress must also pass a comprehensive set of gun control measures that will reduce gun homicides, gun suicides, unintentional shootings, mass shootings and gun injuries. We encourage the 116th Congress to introduce and pass all of our 26 policy priorities:

1.    Background checks on all gun sales

2.    Close the Charleston loophole or “delayed denial” where federally licensed dealers can sell guns if three business days pass without a verdict from the FBI

3.    Restrict and penalize firearm possession by or transfer to a person subject to a domestic violence protection order or a person (including dating partners) convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor

4.    Prohibit firearm sale or transfer to and receipt or possession by an individual who has: (1) been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor hate crime, or (2) received from any court an enhanced hate crime misdemeanor sentence

5.    Mandatory waiting period for gun purchases

6.    Red flag/gun violence restraining order/extreme risk protection order to temporarily prohibit an individual deemed by a judge to pose a danger to self or others, from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition and allow law enforcement to remove any firearms or ammunition already in the individual’s possession

7.    Handgun permitting, licensing, training, and registration

8.    Ban bump-fire stocks and other dangerous accessories

9.    Ban future manufacture and sale of assault weapons, regulate existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act of 1934, and initiate a federal gun buyback program

10.  Limits on high capacity magazines

11.  Prohibit open carry

12.  Make gun trafficking a federal crime

13.  Repeal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) to eliminate the corporate gun industry special protection from civil justice law that no other industry enjoys

14.  Fund government research on gun violence

15.  Child access prevention/safe storage requirement

16.  Provide resources for people with mental illness

17.  Microstamped code on each bullet that links it to a specific gun

18.  “Smart guns” with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) or biometric recognition (fingerprint) capability

19.  Limit gun purchases to one gun per month to reduce trafficking and straw purchases

20.  Require licensing for ammunition dealers

21.  Enhance accountability of federally licensed firearms dealers

22.  Digitize the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) gun records

23.  Raise the minimum age for gun purchases to 21

24.  Ban 3D and ghost guns

25.  Prohibit guns in schools and college campuses

26.  Report lost and stolen guns

Voters spoke up in favor of gun violence prevention on November 6, 2018 and if Congress fails to act once again then we will work to ensure that the members of 116th Congress who choose NRA money over public safety will be voted out in 2020.” 



Newtown Action Alliance ( is a Newtown-based, national grassroots organization formed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. Our mission is to achieve the steady and continuous reduction of gun violence through legislative and cultural changes.