U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips is cosponsoring a bill that would require universal background checks for nearly all firearm purchases.

Phillips, who is in his first term representing Minnesota’s 3rd District, announced on Jan. 8 that he is cosponsoring the universal background checks bill, H.R. 8.

“This is not a partisan issue,” Phillips said in a statement. “In fact, the vast majority of Democrats, independents and Republicans support universal background checks on gun sales. Passing H.R. 8 won’t end our gun violence crisis, but it is an important first step, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to join us in advancing this long overdue legislation.”

During his campaign, Phillips said he would be an advocate for gun violence prevention. H.R. 8 would require federal background checks on nearly all firearm sales, including private sales, but would have some exemptions, such as gun exchanges between family members.

This bill would close a loophole that allows people to buy guns at gun shows or online without a background check. Supporters of universal background checks say they can help stop gun violence by keeping guns out of the hands of people who are deemed dangerous, such as people convicted of felonies, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill, a news release explained.

“Thoughts and tweets don’t save lives; courageous action saves lives,” Phillips said in a statement. “I am committed to advancing common-sense solutions to address our nation’s gun violence epidemic. I look forward to partnering with my colleagues on the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force to do just that.”

A news release from Phillips says universal background checks are supported by 90 percent of Americans, including gun owners like himself.

Authored by Rep. Mike Thompson, a Democrat from California, H.R. 8 was introduced in the House on Jan. 8 — the eighth anniversary of the shooting that nearly killed Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. The bill was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. The bill will likely pass the Democrat-controlled House, but will surely face opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate. For more information on the bill, visit www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/8.

There are 186 cosponsors of the bill as of Jan. 15. Other members of Minnesota’s Congressional delegation have also cosigned the bill, including: Rep. Omar Ilhan, a Democrat who represents the state’s 5th District, and Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat who represents Minnesota’s 4th District.

This is the second bill Phillips has cosponsored since he was sworn in earlier this month. He also is a cosponsor on H.R. 1, also known as The For the People Act of 2019, which is an ethics, voter protect and campaign finance reform bill.

Read the article on the Lakeshore Weekly News website.

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