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Congress approves bipartisan bill on background checks for gun purchases

Background checks bill offers more than “thoughts and prayers” to keep students safer

WASHINGTON - February 27, 2019 -

The U.S. House of Representatives today approved H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which requires a background check for every gun sold as well as most transfers. Passage of H.R. 8 represents the first major Congressional action on gun violence in more than two decades. The House also will take up another bill, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019, H.R. 1112, which would extend the initial background review period from three to 10 days. The NEA supports both bills.


The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:


“After decades of inaction, despite overwhelming public support for commonsense gun laws, and, sadly, mass shootings that have become all too common, the House of Representatives took the first real, concrete step toward ending gun violence. The bipartisan bill on background checks for gun purchases offers more than ‘thoughts and prayers’ to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals and, most importantly, keep students safer.


“While we welcome this timely, necessary legislation, we know that background checks are only the beginning. We also need to expand the focus on mental health, establish more school-based health centers, and increase funding for educators’ professional development with programs to combat bullying, foster mental and behavioral health, and address related issues. In addition, Congress should provide funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research gun violence as a public health issue.


“The fact that the new majority in the U.S. House of Representatives is taking steps to prevent gun violence in America is an indication that elections matter. We commend members of Congress for carrying out the will of the people. As a country, we can and must do more to ensure that everyone who walks through our school doors — educator, student, parent, or community member — is safe from violence. The U.S. Senate should listen to the students, parents, and communities suffering from gun violence and take the actions necessary to protect us.”


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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202)