Following a historic sit-in on the House Floor on June 22, 2016, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) and House Democrats engaged in an orderly protest on the House Floor, respecting House rules. For an hour and a half, over 70 Democratic Members made a continuous series of unanimous consent requests, asking Republican leaders to bring H.R. 1217, a bipartisan bill to expand background checks, to the Floor for a vote.
“There is no excuse for Republican leadership’s continued inaction,” said Butterfield. “Congress must allow a vote on this bipartisan legislation so that we can keep firearms out of the hands of those who intend to cause harm. The overwhelming majority of Americans want Congress to act now. We cannot sit by and wait for the next tragedy to take place. Enough is enough.”
H.R. 1217, the bipartisan “Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act,” expands the federal background check system (the “National Instant Criminal Background Check System ,” or “NICS”) to cover all commercial firearm sales, including those at gun shows, over the internet, or in classified ads, while providing some exceptions for family and friend transfers. The bill is not considered an impediment to Second Amendment rights and is embraced by both Republicans and Democrats who are interested in reducing deaths by gun violence without restricting the lawful ownership and use of firearms.