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Should Congress Reform Firearm Background Checks?

81.8% yes
18.2% no

The House of Representatives recently passed two bills that would change the way the United States conducts background checks on individuals hoping to purchase a firearm. One would expand the amount of time that federal officials have to run a background check before the purchase can be approved, and the other would require gun shows and all individuals wishing to sell a firearm to run a background check before completing the transaction. The bills now will move to the Senate, where they will surely be heavily debated by both legislators and the American public.

Those who support reforming firearm background checks argue that the United States has gone decades without any significant changes. They argue that gun violence is too commonplace in our society, and reforms will help alleviate the issue. This side contends that the current background check system—while effective at stopping many criminals from acquiring guns—has not prevented the high-profile shootings of the past decades. They also claim that the Second Amendment is not an absolute, and that some safety measures need to be put into place that restrict the sale of firearms.

Those who oppose reforming firearm background checks argue that adding further steps that an individual needs to take before purchasing a gun would be ineffective or unconstitutional. This side contends that criminals will find a way to still acquire guns—even with new background check laws—and only serve to slow law-abiding citizens from acquiring guns they need for self-defense. This side also argues that allowing the government to become too involved in gun sales will lead to an overreach of power—which they argue the Second Amendment was designed to combat. Finally, they argue that no system will ever be perfect, and that attempting reforms with the hopes of catching all criminals will never succeed.

So, what do you think? Should Congress reform firearm background checks? Students can argue Yes, it should; No, it should not; or a nuanced answer in-between!

Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:      

  • Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner     
  • Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers      
  • Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors      
  • They address counterarguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner      
  • They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly   


For this question, BRI will be giving away two $25 gift cards, one to each person providing the best defense of each side of the debate. Both students will also win BRI swag. Each student winner will also be entered for a chance to win a grand prize of a $1,000 cash scholarship. Additionally, the referring teachers for both students will each win a $25 gift card and BRI swag.

Be sure to submit your answers in time to be considered for our prizes!

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