Two bills passed the House on Thursday that were meant to make gun background checks stricter, with a small number of Republicans joining Democrats in favor of the measures.
Democrats described The Bipartisan Background Checks Act as a bill that would “utilize the current background checks process” to keep individuals prohibited from possessing a gun from getting one.
What it really does is require unlicensed gun dealers and private sellers to do background checks before selling or transferring a gun to someone. In other words, if I want to sell a gun to my friend, I would have to have a dealer do a background check for me before I could sell it or even give it to them.
Transfers between spouses would not require a background check under the legislation.
Bill passes House, but may get stuck in Senate
Eight Republicans voted for this bill, and one Democrat voted against it, so that it passed 227-203.
“We shouldn’t need a pandemic to reduce gun violence in this country. The way to do that ought to be through passing commonsense gun safety legislation through Congress to make it harder for deadly firearms to get into the hands of those who cannot bear them responsibly,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said.
He also claimed that nine out of 10 Americans supported the idea behind the bill, which is debatable.
But Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) argued that the bill wouldn’t really prevent shootings because most people who commit crimes with guns don’t get their guns legally. Furthermore, he said the bill could prevent people from getting guns they need to protect themselves.
Second bill passes on nearly party line vote
The second bill, the Enhanced Background Checks Act, would lengthen the current three-day waiting period for background checks to 10 days.
It passed by a much closer 219-210 vote, with two Republicans and two Democrats breaking ranks with their parties in their votes.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) introduced the bill and said it would have prevented a shooter from shooting nine people in a black church in 2015, one of which was a pastor and former intern of Clyburn.
It is unlikely that either of these bills can get 10 or more Republicans to support them in the Senate, which means they will not pass there. For as long as the filibuster remains intact, we will be able to hold at least some of Democrats’ radical agenda at bay.