TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Days after reclaiming the House majority, Democrats are introducing gun control legislation timed for the anniversary of the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats will introduce a bill to expand background checks for sales and transfers of firearms on Tuesday, the eighth anniversary of one of the darkest days in Tucson history.
At 10:11 a.m. on Jan. 8, 2011, a gunman opened fire in a crowded parking lot near the intersection of Ina and Oracle roads.
The gunman was targeting Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was hosting an event to meet her constituents. Six people lost their lives and 13 others were wounded, including Giffords.
Giffords, who co-founded a gun safety group with her husband Mark Kelly, said in a statement Friday she was thrilled that her former House colleagues were responding to a gun-violence epidemic that killed nearly 40,000 people in 2017.
The bill expanding background checks “marks a critical first step toward strengthening America’s gun laws and making our country a safer place to live, work, study, worship and play,” Giffords said. “I stand ready to do everything in my power to get this legislation across the finish line.”
Democrats have promised swift action on gun control after the party regained the House majority following eight years of Republican rule.
Pelosi called the bill on background checks a common-sense measure and the first step toward more comprehensive gun control.
“Our Democratic majority will press relentlessly for bipartisan progress to end the epidemic of gun violence on our streets, in our schools and in our places of worship,” Pelosi said. “Enough is enough.”
Citing polls showing 97 percent of Americans support background checks, Pelosi says Democrats “will press relentlessly” to end the nation’s epidemic of gun violence.
The background checks measure is likely to face opposition from the Republican-controlled Senate and the White House, where President Donald Trump has promised to “protect the Second Amendment.”
NRA spokesperson Jennifer Baker said a federal background check did not prevent Giffords' shooting, adding that “so-called universal background checks will never be universal because criminals do not comply with the law.”
Lawmakers should “deal with the root cause of violent crime” instead of trying to “score political points and push ineffective legislation that doesn’t stop criminals from committing crimes,” Baker said.