Calls Intensify for the Senate to Pass H.R.8 Bill After Tragedy in Texas

The H.R.8 Bipartisan Background Checks bill calls for universal background checks on all firearm purchases. Did the bill pass the Senate?

Ade Hennis - Author

May 25 2022, Published 2:08 p.m. ET

Senators discussing H.R.8
Source: Getty

Gun control can be a difficult topic to discuss, but with the unfortunate events that occurred at an elementary school in Texas on May 24, people want to find a solution to help minimize mass shootings in the U.S. The H.R.8 bill has been viewed by some as a step in the right direction in helping fight this issue. Has H.R.8 passed the Senate?

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The Texas shooting that occurred on May 24 sparked an outcry from Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, to pass the H.R.8 bill, which essentially forces universal background checks for firearms across the U.S. The NBA head coach spoke about the Senate’s lack of action when it comes to the bill. Eventually, he stormed out of the pre-game press interviews.

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What is H.R.8?

H.R.8, also known as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, was first introduced in 2019 by Congressman Mike Thompson, who currently serves as the U.S. Representative for California’s fifth congressional district.

The purpose of the act is to require background checks across the U.S. to help ensure that those who shouldn’t have access to a firearm, aren’t able to acquire one. While the bill doesn’t apply to all firearm acquisitions, it specifically prohibits firearm transfers between private parties, unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check.

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What does H.R.8 not apply to?

According to Govtrack, the rule doesn’t apply to transfers or gifted firearms between spouses and family members, as long as the exchange is in good faith. It also doesn’t prohibit those to receive a gun through an estate or trust transfer upon the death of the original owner.

In life-threatening situations or instances where great bodily harm is imminent, temporary transfers would be allowed as long as it is an immediate transfer where a person is protecting themself, family, household members, or others.

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Those who want to shoot at a shooting range or engage in legal hunting, trapping, pest control, and fishing can have a firearm temporarily transferred to them, assuming the person is in the presence of the transferor. There are other minor instances where H.R.8 wouldn’t be required to conduct a background check, and people should check the bill’s exclusions to verify those details.

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Did H.R.8 pass the Senate?

The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 hasn't been passed by the Senate. The Senate has had multiple opportunities to pass the bill, including when it was first introduced in 2019 as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. That bill passed the House and went on to the Senate, but nothing ever came to fruition.

The 2021 version was passed by the House in March last year and the Senate received it the same month. It wasn’t until May 24 that the bill was placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar and read for the first time. So, it took over a year for the Senate to even read the bill, and some question whether the bill would ever have been read if the Texas school shooting hadn't occurred.


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