House Passes Strictest Gun Control Legislation in Recent Memory
The House passed a bill which will allow background checks to take place beyond the present three day maximum to as much as 20 days if that much time is needed to complete the process. As the Federal law stands now, if a background check is not completed, for whatever reason, within three days, the gun sale can take place. The new law forces the seller to wait up to 20 days for the background check before the sale can happen.
The vote was 240 in favor and 190 against, the biggest victory for the Democrat-run House since the midterm elections last November. Eight Republicans joined the majority to pass the bill, while two Democrats, Jared Golden of Maine and Collin Peterson of Minnesota, crossed the aisle to vote with the Republicans against the bill.
The bill is unlikely to become law since it is strongly opposed by Republicans in the Senate, who have a majority there, and the White House, where the President has said he will veto any gun control legislation that comes to his desk. Yet, despite the seeming futility of the vote, Democrats felt obligated to try and sew up what is called the “Charleston loophole,” which allows people to buy guns before their background checks are finished. This is how White Supremacist Dylann Roof was able to buy a gun in 2015 even though he had a pending drug charge. Dylann took his newly purchased Glock to the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina and proceeded to shoot into a room full of people studying the Bible, killing nine of them, all African-Americans.
“Background checks work,” Rep. Mike Thompson of California, the lead Democratic author on the background checks bill, said from the House floor. “Every day, they stop 170 felons and 50 domestic abusers from getting a gun from a licensed dealer. But, in some states, those same people can go into a gun show or go online and buy a gun without a background check. This bill will help stop them from doing so.
“Some will argue that criminals won’t follow the law,” he said. “If that is the case, then why do we have laws against murder? People still commit murder. Why do we have laws against stealing? People still steal. This is flawed logic. Don’t fall for it.”
“Every day, 47 children and teenagers [are] killed by guns,” said Nancy Pelosi, who noted that “90 percent of the American people want commonsense, universal background checks.”
Rep. Peter King of New York, one of the Republican co-sponsors of the bill, told his fellow Republicans that they must change their position on guns and gun control or else pay for it when elections come in 2020 and farther down the road.
“The overwhelming majority of Americans support it, and we shouldn’t allow a small faction who come out and vote in primaries to scare away the whole party,” King said. “There’s a moral perspective. I think it’s important. From a political perspective, this is a key vote in the suburbs. We did badly in the suburbs last time; we’re going to do worse this time. This is an issue that even strong, solid Republican conservatives can’t understand why we don’t support it.”
Yet, despite these arguments, House Republicans stuck to their position that these laws will do nothing to reduce gun violence.
“There are plenty of Democrats who want to say they did something rather than doing [legislation] that would actually do something to reduce violence,” said Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), one of the most outspoken pro-gun rights lawmakers. “Why not try something that will have an impact?”
Hudson said he and some Democrats are working on other legislation that will widen databases that can be searched instantly as part of the National Instant Criminal Background Checks System.
“This extreme gun- control bill will make criminals out of law-abiding Americans. It will also make it harder for good people to defend themselves and their families,” added Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA, the legislative branch of the anti-gun-control organization. “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.”