Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, two bills cosponsored by Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) to advance gun safety in America passed the House of Representatives. The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 requires background checks for all gun transfers, not just those sold by federally licensed retailers, such as gun purchases over the internet. The Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 reinforces that background checks must be completed before retailers can sell firearms.

“While our nation has seen far too many tragedies – Sandy Hook, Aurora, San Bernardino, Orlando, Mother Emanuel AME Church, Las Vegas, Parkland – nearly 100 Americans lose their lives each day in gun-related incidents that don’t make national news,” said Rep. Peters. “There’s no question we need universal background checks to curb the national epidemic of gun violence and to protect the lives of our kids, teachers, first responders, and civilians.”

“Five years ago, I live-streamed the sit-in on the House floor after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando to demand a vote on background checks. Since then, millions of Americans have raised their voices and demanded change. To all those who have been hurt by gun violence, lost a loved one, or fought tirelessly with us: today’s vote is for you. I urge my colleagues in the other Chamber to take these bills up for consideration swiftly; the time for the Senate to pass these life-saving reforms is long overdue.”

These background check bills would make federal law more consistent with existing regulations in California. Specifically, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act would require a background check for every gun sale or transfer to ensure that individuals prohibited from gun possession under federal law, such as felons, domestic abusers, and those considered a danger to themselves or others, are not able to obtain firearms. The Enhanced Background Checks Act would close the Charleston Loophole that currently allows the sale of a firearm to proceed if a background check is not completed within three business days. The Charleston Loophole allowed a shooter to obtain a weapon and kill nine innocent people in a horrific hate crime at Mother Emanuel AME Church in 2015.

Since his election to Congress in 2013, Rep. Peters has been a champion for gun safety reform:

  • His 2016 livestream of the sit-in gained national media attention and was broadcast on CSPAN after Republicans shut off the cameras that feed official video of the House floor. 
  • Between 2015 and 2016, Rep. Peters took to the House floor over 20 times in a series titled ‘The Human Cost of Inaction’ to read the names of gun violence victims and call on then-Speaker Paul Ryan to schedule a vote on background checks.
  • Throughout 2017 and 2018, Rep. Peters attended a Town Hall for Our Lives in San Diego following the Parkland shooting, opposed arming teachers, cosponsored legislation that bans assault weapons, and voted against extending concealed carry reciprocity, which would allow concealed carry licenses to be valid in states other than the issuing state. 
  • In 2019, when former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to put the Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2019 up for a vote in the Senate, Rep. Peters delivered over 700 letters from San Diegans to Sen. McConnell’s office about how gun violence has affected them.