Larsen Votes for Universal Background Checks

Feb 27, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) today voted for legislation to require universal background checks.

“Time and time again, towns and cities across the country endure the pain of gun violence. This cycle must stop. We cannot become immune to tragedy,” said Larsen. “While no law can prevent all shootings, requiring universal background checks is a commonsense step to reducing gun violence in communities across the United States.”

The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 requires a background check for all gun sales or transfers, with limited exceptions that, for example, allow a person: to give a gun as a gift to a close family member; loan a gun for hunting or target shooting; or provide a gun in the moment of self-defense.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations defines a mass shooting as four or more victims murdered with a firearm. Since 2008, there have been three mass shootings in Washington’s Second District. In 2016, a gunman killed five people at the Cascade Mall in Burlington. In 2014, a student opened fire at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, killing four. In 2008, six people were killed in a Skagit County shooting spree. Additionally, in July 2016, a gunman shot four people at a party in Mukilteo, killing three and seriously wounding the fourth.

“Gun tragedies cannot continue to be the norm,” said Larsen. “Inaction is not an option. Congress has a responsibility to make Americans safer from gun violence and I will continue to work with my colleagues to finally pass meaningful gun violence legislation.”

The majority of voters in the counties in the Second District recently supported initiatives to increase the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon as well as expanding background checks. Larsen has continuously supported legislation to address gun violence. He supported the 2018 spending package which increased funding for the Department of Justice, the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services to address counseling, mentoring and mental health services for students. He has also repeatedly called for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the public health consequences of gun violence.