This afternoon, legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced bipartisan legislation, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 8), which would require universal background checks for the purchase of firearms. The Academy issued the press statement below applauding the effort and urging lawmakers to advance the bill without delay. Please stay tuned for upcoming advocacy opportunities as this bill advances through Congress.

The following is a statement from the Kyle Yasuda, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics

“At the start of a new Congress, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is encouraged by bipartisan efforts to advance legislation that would require universal background checks for the purchase of firearms. The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 8) is an important, long overdue step forward to protect children from gun violence and should serve as a starting point for more needed progress.

“As pediatricians, keeping children safe and healthy is our number one priority. No child should have his or her life cut short by gun violence, and yet families and communities across our country continue to face the devastating consequences of this deadly public health epidemic.

“Like any epidemic, gun violence can be prevented; requiring strong background checks is key to the process. Pediatricians will continue to urge Congress to enact common-sense firearm safety policies, including $50 million in federal funding for long-stalled gun violence prevention research.

“As we begin a new year with a newly elected Congress, the AAP looks forward to working with both chambers to advance this legislation without delay, and to continue to work across the aisle on policies that help ensure all children are safe from gun violence where they live, learn and play.”