H.R.8 Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019:
Background checks are mandatory for anyone purchasing a gun from a federally licensed seller, according to the Brady Campaign. However, a person selling their gun without a federal license is not required to perform a background check. Of all the guns sold in the U.S., one in five of sales happen without a background check, meaning anyone could get their hands on a gun, legal or not.
“Most people have this view that it’s just Republicans that want to keep guns, that’s not necessarily true. I mean, I know Democrats that have a collection of guns, and they’re loud speaking liberals. But, I think that both views are necessary to come together to make that issue spoken upon,” sophomore Samantha Berlan said.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, the H.R.8 Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 was introduced to close this exception to background checks. Dozens of gun reform activists — including some from March for Our Lives — came to the hearing to show their support for the bill.
“I think it is definitely a good move, considering the fact that other developed countries all across the world have background checks for guns,” sophomore Anais Roatta said. “It makes it so that our country is safer, and more aware, and it makes it so that we are saying as a country we don’t condone shootings, we don’t allow this kind of activity to happen.”
Labeled bipartisan, the H.R.8 bill will likely not pass in the Senate where there remains a conservative majority.
The United States’ National Emergency:
The shutdown in the U.S. that started in December remains the longest shutdown in American history, as well as one of the most controversial. Republicans and Democrats refused to budge on a border control deal, with conservatives in favor of a southern border wall and liberals against the creation of a wall.
“Generally, I approve [of the wall] because of the fact that I think that America is yes, a country of the free and everyone should be allowed to have their American dream, but it comes to a point where we can’t harbor every single person in this entire country,” Berlan said. “And I think that there is a lot of people that would like to come live in America, and I don’t think it’s fair for those who apply and do it legally and go through the process of getting approved to come into this country, that there are those that just get to sneak in.”
However, according to The New York Times, the two parties did recently come to an agreement about a bipartisan border plan that would give President Donald Trump $1.4 billion for fencing, not the five billion dollars for a steel wall originally requested.
“I think that both parties right now are being really extremist in a way, and I feel like they are so concerned about doing what’s right for the individual party that neither are really concerned of the effect that this has on the entire population,” Roatta said.
On Feb. 15, Trump announced a national emergency that shook the country. A border deal had been reached by the 15th, but Trump did not get enough funding for the wall, so he signed a national emergency to increase funding for it.
Trump received criticism and backlash for this decision, because many do not consider the wall to be a crisis that deems a national emergency. During his announcement, Trump said that he could have spread out the time the wall was built in and not declared an emergency, but that he wanted to do it faster, according to USA Today.
“I don’t think he [Trump] realizes how this affects people everywhere, not just in the United States, people all over the world, because what happens here affects everyone,” Roatta said. “Clearly the American people don’t want this…so the fact that he’s using this to get what he wants is taking advantage of the system, and it’s not correct. He should do it by the book, he is the President of the United States and he needs to act like it.”