The importance of the 2018 elections can’t be understated. For Democrats, the tide of a new and radically diverse group of leaders in the House was a relieving change of pace from a Republican majority that had locked down both chambers and the executive branch. For Republicans, the loss of the House and tepid results in a Senate map that strongly favored them raised concerns that the sentiments of the American majority could be turning against them. But while Democrats have more leverage than they have since the departure of President Obama, passing substantive legislation will still be difficult. The next two years will provide an opportunity for them to build their argument for 2020, present their platform to the American people, and try to pass whatever bills they can manage with Republicans still holding a lead, albeit a slim one, in the Senate. By many accounts, gun control legislation will serve as a significant pillar of their platform.

Their approach seems to be pursuing common-sense legislation, potentially shaving off votes from Republicans or at least forcing their opponents to vote against legislation that appeals to the public. A bill presented to the House Judiciary Committee would set federal standards for universal background checks. By many accounts, it would be a pretty significant change. While licensed dealers are required by federal law to perform background checks on anyone looking to purchase a firearm, the notorious “gun show loophole” allows private sellers to make a deal without undergoing such hurdles. But these sorts of private arms deals aren’t only happening at gun shows. Online site Armslist.com serves essentially as a Craigslist for private gun sales. Advocacy group Everytown For Gun Safety claims that 1.2 million ads were listed on the site last year. Everytown even hired private investigators to expose how easy it is to purchase a gun through a private dealer. One seller joked, “I’m assuming that you haven’t beaten your wife lately, done any drugs, you’re an Ohio resident.”

For those advocating for the bill, it would seal up an obvious hole in America’s current gun laws. But pro-gun advocates are skeptical. They claim that those who want to get guns will and that a law like that under discussion would only impede on the rights of American citizens and that criminals who want guns will find ways to acquire them.