In February 2021, President Joe Biden called on Congress to expand background checks for gun buyers. However, a bill has not been able to get through the divided Senate. In one instance, the House passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, H.R. 8, which enhances background check regulations. The Senate never voted on this legislation.
Due to these stalls, the Biden administration has instead focused on supporting community violence intervention programs. Several jurisdictions have committed to use part of their public funding to improve these initiatives.
“During the last couple of decades, Democratic lawmakers have generally favored further gun regulation while Republican lawmakers have generally resisted it. But the alignment between position on guns and party affiliation has been strengthening over time. Thus, I think it’s fair to say that universal background check legislation is unlikely to pass the U.S. Senate as long as it is so closely divided by party and the filibuster remains in place.”
— Professor Kristin Goss
Kristin Goss is a political scientist who is currently the Kevin D. Gorter Professor of Public Policy and Political Science in the Sanford School of Public Policy