WASHINGTON -- Flanked by the parents of children killed or disabled by guns, including the parents of children slain in the Parkland, Fla., shooting one year ago, Rep. Jerry Nadler announced Thursday he would advance a bill to require background checks on gun sales next week.
Nadler chairs the Judiciary Committee, which has broad jurisdiction over firearm regulations. The New York Democrat announced the committee will advance the Bipartisan Background Checks Act on Wednesday, Feb. 13. The next day, Feb. 14, marks the anniversary of a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, which claimed 17 lives.
"We will stop the epidemic of gun violence in this country," Nadler said.
The bill would require gun sellers, including private vendors, to conduct background checks on buyers. Democratic leaders introduced the bill as H.R. 8 -- a low number reflects that it's a high priority.
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., who along with Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., has pushed Congress to pass a bill requiring background checks since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, cheered the advancement of the measure.
"Over the last six years I've been to a number of press conferences on this issue, but this is my favorite press conference," Thompson said.
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The latest progress on the bill follows a marathon hearing on gun violence the committee held Wednesday -- the first such hearing the chamber has held since 2011.
In the eight intervening years, a drumbeat of mass shootings has gripped national headlines including the tragedy in Parkland, in Las Vegas at a music festival in 2017 and in Orlando at an LGBTQ nightclub in 2016.
A Republican member of the committee, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, momentarily derailed the hearing Wednesday.
Gaetz devoted his time on the panel to voice a false theory that gun violence can be attributed to immigrants crossing the southern border, and was interrupted by the father of a slain Parkland student.