Jan. 8 (UPI) -- House Democrats with some help by Republicans, unveiled a universal background check bill Tuesday to curb gun violence, eight years to the day after former Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot in Arizona.
The bill will require background checks on the sale of any firearm and expand existing background checks for the sale of guns online, at stores and at gun shows. Giffords joined gun control advocates as the bill was introduced by the Democratically-controlled House.
"Stopping gun violence takes courage, the courage to do what's right, the courage for new ideas," the former House member said at a news conference, just steps from the House floor and the Democratic cloak room named in her honor.
In the past, bills were introduced in the House but didn't go anywhere with the Republican majority. Instead, gun owners gained additional rights by being allowed to carry concealed firearms across state lines.
"Today we take a decisive step forward to help save lives right away," Rep. Mike Thompson, D-California, chair of the Democrats' Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, who wrote the legislation, said in a news release. "As a gun owner, hunter and supporter of the Second Amendment, I am honored to join with Democratic and Republican colleagues to introduce my universal background checks bill that will help keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them."
A handful of Republicans support the bill, including Reps. Peter King of New York, the lead sponsor, and Brian Mast of Florida. King said in a statement "as government officials it is our responsibility to protect our citizens, and when it comes to gun violence we must do more."
Before introduction of the "Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, Pelosi appeared with survivors of the attack in Tucson and gun rights advocates.
"We are blessed to be with survivors of that attack and survivors of so many other acts of gun violence today. But today is also a day of action," Pelosi said in prepared remarks at the news conference.
"We say 'enough is enough' by finally bringing commonsense bipartisan background check legislation to the floor of the House."
But the legislation likely will die in the Senate.
Chris Murphy, D-Conn., plans to introduce a companion bill, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is unlikely to bring the measure to the floor. President Donald Trump has also not given his support.
Murphy lives in the state where 20 children and six adult staff members were fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012.
The bill would exclude "reasonable transfers" for guns kept inside the same family.
"The background check requirement for firearms sales in current federal law is riddled with loopholes that make it far too easy for dangerous people to get guns. It is time we expand these checks to include all gun sales," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York said in a statement. "The American people overwhelmingly support universal background checks which will make us safer from gun violence, and I am proud to cosponsor this critical legislation."
Democratic Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Lucy McBath of Georgia made gun control a key part of their campaign. McBath's son was shot and killed at a gas station in 2012.
"If this weren't bold and if this was some easy, low-hanging fruit than this would've happened before," Pressley said. "To me, it's progress. It's a step in the right direction. We don't stop pushing for and advocating for those comprehensive fixes that I think will get at this growing scourge."
The proposed bill doesn't go as far as many Democrats would like, like banning assault-style rifles and large capacity magazines.
The National Rifle Association opposes the bill, saying criminals will never submit to background checks, so it won't be universal. Plus, too many law-abiding citizens get snagged because of similar names and dates of birth, the group added.
"Instead of looking for effective solutions that will deal with the root cause of violent crime and save lives, anti-gun politicians would rather score political points and push ineffective legislation that doesn't stop criminals from committing crimes," Jennifer Baker, an NRA spokesperson, said in a statement obtained by ABC News.