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Supporting Universal Background Check Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) released the following statement announcing her support for HR 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which would expand the current federal background check system to cover nearly all firearm sales. The House is set to vote on the legislation this week in addition to HR 1112, a bill to close the so-called “Charleston loophole” that allowed Dylann Roof to purchase the firearm he used to kill nine African Americans before the FBI could finish its background check. Pingree supports that bill as well. 
“Our background check system can’t protect the public with so many massive holes in it. We can all agree that certain people should not be allowed to own a firearm because of the risks they present. But we’ve given them multiple options for skirting the system so they can purchase one with ease,” said Pingree. “As shootings have rocked our nation, I’ve met with students who don’t feel safe in their schools, parents who fear for their children, and heartbroken families who’ve lost their loved ones to gun violence. Congress should be absolutely ashamed that we have ignored their cries and this appalling crisis for so long. I’m proud to support HR 8, which would fill the holes in our background check system, one of the easiest and most effective steps we can take to prevent gun violence and save lives. I’m disheartened that this issue has become so divisive, because there’s so much we can agree on. This bipartisan bill finds that common ground, striking a commonsense compromise between protecting public safety while preserving the rights of law-abiding gun owners.” 
Pingree has long supported legislation to address the nation’s epidemic of gun violence, but under the last years of Republican control, commonsense bills were never brought to the floor for debate. Now in the majority, Democrats have made the issue a top priority of the 116th Congress. 
H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 was introduced by a group of five Republicans and five Democrats. It would widen required background checks to all gun sales and most transfers. Current law only requires federally licensed dealers to conduct background checks on their sales. 
The bill does include a number of exemptions for transfers between family members, for hunting, and other situations outlined in the bill text below. (Full bill text here.)
(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to—
“(A) a law enforcement agency or any law enforcement officer, armed private security professional, or member of the armed forces, to the extent the officer, professional, or member is acting within the course and scope of employment and official duties;
“(B) a transfer that is a loan or bona fide gift between spouses, between domestic partners, between parents and their children, between siblings, between aunts or uncles and their nieces or nephews, or between grandparents and their grandchildren;
“(C) a transfer to an executor, administrator, trustee, or personal representative of an estate or a trust that occurs by operation of law upon the death of another person;
“(D) a temporary transfer that is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, if the possession by the transferee lasts only as long as immediately necessary to prevent the imminent death or great bodily harm;
“(E) a transfer that is approved by the Attorney General under section 5812 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or
“(F) a temporary transfer if the transferor has no reason to believe that the transferee will use or intends to use the firearm in a crime or is prohibited from possessing firearms under State or Federal law, and the transfer takes place and the transferee’s possession of the firearm is exclusively—
“(i) at a shooting range or in a shooting gallery or other area designated for the purpose of target shooting;
“(ii) while reasonably necessary for the purposes of hunting, trapping, or fishing, if the transferor—
“(I) has no reason to believe that the transferee intends to use the firearm in a place where it is illegal; and
“(II) has reason to believe that the transferee will comply with all licensing and permit requirements for such hunting, trapping, or fishing; or
“(iii) while in the presence of the transferor.
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