WASHINGTON — The House passed a gun control bill Wednesday with just a handful of Republican members supporting the legislation related to expanded background checks. A gun control bill has not been brought to Congress since the Manchin-Toomey background check bill in 2013.
The Bipartisan Background Checks Bill (H.R. 8) — which mandates that every buyer involved in firearms sales and individuals involved in most transfers go through a federal background check — passed 240 to 190 with 8 Republicans’ “yes” votes. Two Democrats voted against the bill. (RELATED: House Gun Control Bill Advances Out Of Committee. Here Are The Details)
Although the passage of this largely Democrat bill was expected, Republicans maneuvered to try to embarrass their colleagues on the other side of the aisle. Georgia Republican Congressman Doug Collins called for a motion to recommit based on an amendment previously voted down in committee that would have reported illegal aliens to ICE, following information provided through a background check.
His motion was successful after 26 Democrats supported the motion and the bill was amended.
Republicans and Democrats held dual press conferences Wednesday over both bills as well as on the House floor immediately prior to the votes. (RELATED: Republicans And Democrats Debate Gun Registration Ahead Of House Gun Control Votes)
Republican Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko proposed an amendment to H.R. 8 on the floor, which ultimately failed, that would enable people cleared by the Transportation Security Administration’s Precheck program to purchase a firearm without a further background check.
“I know the politics of it. I know they put out the buzzwords. I know they say, if you do this you need a national registry trying to frighten the American people. It’s just malarkey. It’s just not gonna work,” Democratic California Rep. Mike Thompson, the lead co-sponsor of the H.R.8 said of Republican claims that the bill would lead to a registry. “We’re not here to create a new registry. We’re here to create a great first line of defense to ensure that people who shouldn’t have guns don’t get access to guns.”
Although H.R. 8 says the bill restricts the formation of a firearms registry, Republicans say it cannot be enforced without such a system and Democrats are using the bill as a first step toward a registry in the future.
“H.R. 8 is taking the fears and the concerns of a nation over gun violence and perpetrating a fraud upon them,” House Judiciary ranking committee member Doug Collins said. “They’re playing on the very victims that they’re wanting to supposedly help by putting a bill out there that will not help them, by constantly bringing up the mass violence incidences such as at schools and theaters and others. They’re saying this will help.”
The bills face an uphill battle in the Republican-led Senate, but Thompson says he has already talked to members on both sides of the aisle in the upper chamber about authoring a companion bill.
Kerry Picket is a host on SiriusXM Patriot 125