HC Wake-Up Call: House Democrats Unveil Universal Background Check Bill, 'Surviving R. Kelly' Spurs Follow-Up From DA & Bumble Allows Users to Filter Dates By Zodiac Sign

Good morning, Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

House Democrats Unveil Universal Background Check Bill

House Democrats have unveiled a universal background check bill that they hope to pass in the first 100 days of the new Congress.

On Tuesday, the eighth anniversary of the 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona, where former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was injured and six people were killed, Democrats introduced gun legislation to expand background checks to include individuals attempting to purchase guns online, at gun shows and commercially, as well as person-to-person transactions, with certain exemptions family members transferring guns and for law enforcement, NPR reports.

“Stopping gun violence takes courage, the courage to do what’s right, the courage for new ideas,” Giffords said at a news conference Tuesday.

The bill, according to NPR, is co-sponsored by Reps. Mike Thompson, (D-CA), and Peter King, (R-NY), and has four additional original GOP co-sponsors: Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Fred Upton of Michigan, Chris Smith of New Jersey and Brian Mast of Florida.

“From the public polling to the ballot box, the American people have spoken up and demanded action to help end the tragedy of gun violence that far too many in our country face every day. We will continue our fight and we will deliver,” Thompson, chair of the Democrats’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, who wrote the legislation, said.

“When background checks are used, they keep guns out of the hands of people we all agree shouldn’t have guns,” King commented.

According to ABC News, at the press conference, Giffords accompanied Thompson to the House floor to introduce the bill, which Democratic aides say leaders intend to move to the floor quickly.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) countered the Thompson-King bill, saying the legislation would not have prevented any of the recent shootings in which the gun were obtained legally or where the background check system failed.

“So-called universal background checks will never be universal because criminals do not comply with the law,” NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said. “Instead of looking for effective solutions that will deal with 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.”

Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), who authored the concealed-carry legislation which passed in the House last year, criticized this new gun legislation proposal since it “threatens the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” ABC News reports.

But Thompson still considered it an “important step” in creating better gun legislation.

“This is a very important step forward to make sure our communities are a bit safer,” Thompson told ABC News.

“Surviving R. Kelly” Spurs Follow-Up From District Attorney

After Surviving R. Kelly aired on January 3rd, viewers were shocked by the horrific details regarding Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse, and calls to the National Sexual Assault Hotline even increased by 27 percent from the previous week. But now, the docuseries is leading to even more positive action after a criminal investigation was reportedly launched against the R&B singer.

TMZ reported that the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in Georgia has opened a criminal investigation into Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse, and that the investigation was opened as a “direct result” of the information revealed in the docuseries. According to sources, investigators have reached out to several of the victims, including Asante McGee, who claims that Kelly kept her in his house against her will, TMZ reports.

According to CNN, Gerald Griggs, an attorney for the family of Joycelyn Savage, one of the women featured in the docuseries, said the Fulton County District Attorney reached out to him after the show aired. Griggs said he was asked to provide a list of witnesses to the events that took place at Kelly’s house in Johns Creek, a northern Atlanta suburb, in 2017.

The six-part docuseries about Kelly featured interviews and accounts from accusers, as well as friends of Kelly regarding his personal life and the allegations against him.

A Chicago prosecutor, where Kelly is originally from, said Tuesday that her office has been in contact with two families in regards to the allegations against Kelly since the airing of the docuseries.

Cook County State's Attorney Kimberly Foxx also urged victims and witnesses to come forward.

“Please come forward. There is nothing that can be done to investigate these allegations without the cooperation of victims and witnesses. We cannot seek justice without you,” Foxx said at a news conference.

Kelly has been facing abuse and pedophilia accusations for decades, including claims of statutory rape and child pornography charges, CNN reports.

Hopefully this new investigation will help his accusers to finally be heard.

Bumble Allows Users to Filter Dates By Zodiac Sign

If you want to make sure your next love interest is written in the stars, Bumble can make that happen. Bumble now allows users to filter their potential dates by zodiac sign.

According to Hello Giggles, the new feature was quietly rolled out last month, following an earlier update that allowed users to disclose their astrological sign.

But now you can list which zodiac signs you wish to exclude in the advanced filters section on the app.

Here’s a peek at the new update.

via Bumble

It only makes sense to include this new feature. After all, the filters allow users to fill out icons based on their lifestyle preferences, political leanings, etc. so it’s equally important to include zodiac signs.

However, it should be noted that the feature only works when users have disclosed their zodiac sign. So, you could potentially still swipe for a Scorpio.

But all in all, users are pretty stoked about this new feature.

What to look out for…

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, this little doggo will warm your heart. This long-haired mini dachshund, which is appropriately named Remus, responds to Harry Potter spells, and well, it’s just downright magical.