The United States House of Representatives is being urged by the Biden administration to pass two measures that fortify federal background checks for gun purchases.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said on Monday that “Gun violence is a public health crisis.”
“Every day, gun violence—community violence, domestic violence, suicides, and mass shootings—takes American lives and forever alters many more,” OMB said. “Last year, we saw record levels of homicides in cities throughout our country, violence that disproportionately impacts Black and Latino communities.”
The OMB said that the federal background check system is a “proven tool to reduce gun violence and save lives.”
“This system, called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, has kept millions of guns out of potentially dangerous hands.”
“The Administration encourages the House to pass two bills that would help close existing loopholes in the system,” OMB said.
“The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to strengthen the Federal gun background check system and take other commonsense steps to reduce gun violence,” said the OMB.
White House Press secretary Jen Psaki said last month that gun control was being prioritized by the Biden administration.
“The president is somebody, throughout his career, who has advocated for smart gun, smart gun safety measures,” Psaki told reporters. “He is not afraid of standing up to the NRA–he has done it multiple times.”
The FBI stated last month that it processed a record 39.7 million firearm background checks in 2020, which bested the previous high of 10 million. Reports said that as many as 8.5 million purchased their first firearm in 2020, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Meanwhile, a number of gun and ammunition manufacturers reported shortages amid the surge in demand.
Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton responded to the push to restrict gun rights by President Joe Biden, who on the Feb. 14 anniversary of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school called on Congress to impose tougher laws on ownership of firearms.
“The Parkland shooting 3 years ago was an act of unspeakable evil,” Paxton wrote in a tweet late Feb. 14. “But Democrats cannot be allowed to use this tragedy as an opportunity to cram down unhelpful and unconstitutional gun laws.”
“Biden won’t undo the #2A in TX on my watch,” the Republican attorney general said, referring to the Second Amendment.
State Rep. Tammy Nichols, a Republican from Middleton, Idaho, said that U.S. states must take appropriate measures in order to maintain their sovereignty.
“We’re [Idaho] actually strengthening our gun laws, and we have pretty good gun laws on our books right now. But we’re trying to strengthen those to make sure that whatever happens at the federal level will not impact the citizens of Idaho,” Nichols told The Epoch Times.
Isabel Van Brugen, Joshua Philipp, and Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.