FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 28, 2019        CONTACT Liz Voyles, liz@brassrc.com, 202-297-9641                            

Big City Health Officials Applaud U.S. House for Passing Firearms Background Check Legislation 

Urge U.S. Senate to Follow Suit

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) commended Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) and members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted to pass H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which requires background checks on all firearm sales and transfers. Current law contains a loophole that allows purchasers to buy guns from an unlicensed dealer, in person or over the Internet, without checking whether the buyer has a criminal record, a pattern of domestic abuse, or a history of mental illness. Universal background checks are supported by a large majority of the American people.

The Big Cities Health Coalition is a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of their residents. Collectively, BCHC member jurisdictions directly impact more than 62 million people, or one in five Americans.

“The U.S. House of Representatives took a historic step forward by passing legislation that would help address America’s dangerous gun violence epidemic, and make our communities safer,” said Chrissie Juliano, Executive Director of the Big Cities Health Coalition. “Gun violence killed more than 40,000 people in our country in 2017, and city health officials know the toll of this epidemic all too well, because half of all homicides happen in cities. We want to acknowledge those who chose to support constructive solutions to the public health crisis of gun violence, despite the fact that this was a challenging vote.

 “We urge members of the U.S. Senate to take up this bill immediately and for members of the U.S. House to vote for an upcoming bill that would extend the period federal authorities have to complete a background check. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress on additional common-sense reforms, and critical funding for gun violence research,” said Juliano.

The coalition recently joined the Giffords Law Center and other public health organizations in urging the new Congress to fund research into gun violence at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Research is key to creating policies that will begin to curb the epidemic of gun violence facing cities and communities across the country. The CDC is ready to act on this vital research once Congress appropriates funding.

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The Big Cities Health Coalition is a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of their residents. Collectively, BCHC member jurisdictions directly impact more than 62 million people, or one in five Americans. http://www.bigcitieshealth.org/