The House passed what advocates call the most significant gun control measure in more than two decades on Wednesday when it approved the first of two bills aimed at broadening the federal background check system for firearms purchases.
The vote on the first bill, dubbed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, passed largely along party lines 240 to 190 with Democrats who control the House cheering as they carried the legislation across the finish line.
A second bill, expected to be taken up Thursday, would extend the period federal authorities have to complete a background check before a gun sale can go through. Under current law, if a check isn’t finalized in three business days, the transaction can automatically proceed, NPR reports.
House Democrats hope the swift passage of the companion bills will put pressure on the Senate to act. The National Rifle Association opposes the legislation, and it faces major headwinds in the Republican-controlled Senate. In the unlikely event the Senate approves the measure, the White House has already signaled the President would veto the bill, should it reach his desk.
“We applaud Speaker Pelosi and the bipartisan coalition of House members who supported this bill for stepping up and doing their part to close the giant — and deadly — loopholes in America’s background checks law.” ~ John Feinblatt, president of the anti-gun violence group Everytown for Gun Safety
Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, issued a statement, calling the background check bill “extreme,” adding it will “make criminals out of law-abiding Americans.”
“Criminals, on the other hand, will continue to get their firearms the way they always have – through the black market, theft, and straw purchases. Forcing more government paperwork and additional fees on good people trying to exercise a constitutional right will do nothing to make Americans safer,” ~ Cox
- The legislation mandates background checks be performed on all gun sales, including firearm purchases made privately, whether it be online or at gun shows.
- A firearm could also be loaned to someone using it at a shooting range or for the purposes of hunting and trapping, unless there’s a reason to suspect the gun will be used in a crime or the person receiving the gun is prohibited from possessing the gun under state or federal law.
- A temporary transfer of a gun can also take place in situations where it’s “necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.”
But in an embarrassing blow to Democrats, 26 of their own members broke ranks and joined with Republicans to add language to the bill that would report undocumented immigrants to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement if they attempt to buy a gun. Republicans were ecstatic about the maneuver, which embarrassed Pelosi and other Democratic leaders.
House Republican Whip
@SteveScalise explains the irony of #HR8 and #HR1112. Law-abiding citizens will be treated as criminals and criminals will be untouched. Dems even rejected an amendment requiring ICE notification when illegals fail a background check.
House Republican Whip @SteveScalise explains the irony of #HR8 and #HR1112. Law-abiding citizens will be treated as criminals and criminals will be untouched. Dems even rejected an amendment requiring ICE notification when illegals fail a background check. https://t.co/WOdftwRpeN pic.twitter.com/74R3vft5uD
— NRA (@NRA) February 27, 2019
This is nothing but a sick attempt to force firearm registration databases as well as a complete violation of the #2ndAmendment, criminals are criminals because they do not care what laws are passed. This will make good people, victims.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.