WASHINGTON — The Democratic-controlled Home on Wednesday authorised a measure requiring federal background checks for all firearms gross sales and transfers, the primary main gun management laws thought of by Congress in almost 25 years.
Democrats referred to as the 240-190 vote a serious step to finish the gun foyer’s grip on Washington and start to handle an epidemic of gun violence that kills hundreds of Individuals yearly, together with 17 individuals shot and killed at a Florida highschool final 12 months.
The invoice is the primary of two the Home is voting on this week as Democrats transfer to tighten gun legal guidelines following eight years of Republican management. The opposite invoice would lengthen the evaluation interval for background checks from three to 10 days.
Each payments face dim prospects within the Republican-controlled Senate and veto threats from President Donald Trump, who mentioned they’d impose unreasonable necessities on gun homeowners.
Simply eight Republicans joined 232 Democrats to help the invoice, whereas solely two Democrats voted towards it.
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The White Home mentioned in a veto message that the background-checks invoice might block somebody from borrowing a firearm for self-defence or permitting a neighbour to deal with a gun whereas travelling.
Democrats referred to as these arguments deceptive and mentioned gun homeowners have a duty to make sure firearms are correctly dealt with. The invoice consists of exceptions permitting non permanent transfers to forestall imminent hurt or to be used at a goal vary.
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The long-delayed invoice would merely shut loopholes to make sure that background checks are prolonged to non-public and on-line gross sales that always go undetected, Democrats mentioned.
“People who find themselves felons or are dangerously mentally in poor health shouldn’t have weapons,” no matter whether or not they purchase them from a federally licensed seller or their next-door neighbour, mentioned Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., a key sponsor who has pushed for expanded background checks for the reason that 2012 killing of 20 elementary faculty college students in Newtown, Connecticut.
“For six-and-a-half years, we had no cooperation from the previous majority” within the Home, Thompson mentioned. “We couldn’t get a listening to on the invoice. We couldn’t get a vote. At the moment, we’re right here to let you know it’s a brand new day. With this (Democratic) majority, we’ve made a dedication to handle the difficulty of gun violence.”
Whereas Republicans largely opposed the invoice, the GOP scored a procedural victory when the Home accepted a Republican modification requiring that gun sellers notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement when an unlawful immigrant tries to purchase a gun. Twenty-six Democrats joined with Republicans to help the modification, supplied by Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga.
Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi downplayed the GOP proposal, saying, “We received a giant victory — get the message.”
Pelosi, D-Calif., referred to as the Home vote “historic” and hailed the invoice as “a long-overdue, commonsense motion to finish the epidemic of gun violence in America.”
To display her help for the invoice, Pelosi wore an orange gown whereas different Democrats wore orange ties or scarves, the color utilized by the motion towards gun violence.
Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., mentioned she hopes the symbolism will quickly turn into out of date.
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“I lengthy for the day when orange scarves are a trend assertion, not a cry for assist,” mentioned Dean, who was sporting a shiny orange scarf.
Home Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., who was gravely wounded in a 2017 taking pictures at a congressional baseball observe, mentioned stricter background checks wouldn’t have prevented his taking pictures or different tragedies.
“What it will do is make criminals out of law-abiding residents,” Scalise mentioned. “Should you go looking with a pal and your pal needs to borrow your rifle, you higher convey your lawyer with you as a result of relying on what you do with that gun you could be a felon in the event you mortgage it to him.”
Democrats mentioned the invoice consists of exceptions permitting non permanent transfers for anybody who feels threatened by a home accomplice or different individual. The invoice additionally permits a gun proprietor to mortgage their weapon and to be used at a goal vary.
“There isn’t a cause to proceed to make it simple for people who find themselves legally prohibited from possessing firearms to accumulate them by circumventing the background test course of,” mentioned Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the Home Judiciary Committee. The background checks invoice would “shut this harmful loophole and save lives,” Nadler mentioned.
Collins, the highest Republican on the Judiciary panel, mentioned the invoice “foolishly presumes criminals who flout present legal guidelines will out of the blue submit themselves to background checks.”
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Democrats and different invoice supporters are “delusional” in the event that they assume “a legal buying and selling cocaine to a different legal for a firearm will rethink attributable to” the background checks invoice, he mentioned.
However Kris Brown, president of Brady, a gun management group previously often known as the Brady Marketing campaign to Stop Gun Violence, mentioned the invoice will save lives.
Brown referred to as the Home vote “a monumental step ahead for gun violence prevention in our nation” and hailed Thompson and different lawmakers who pushed for the measure.
“On to the Senate!” she mentioned.
Related Press author Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.