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Elections Have Consequences: House Passes Major Gun Control Bill

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On Wednesday, H.R. 8, dubbed the "Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019," passed the entire U.S. House of Representatives. As The Daily Wire reported two weeks ago, the measure, which seeks to implement what gun control partisans on the Left often refer to as "universal background checks," would expand background checks for firearm sales to also include private firearm transfers. There would be some minor dispensations, including firearm transfers among close relatives and loaning a firearm to be used by a gun owner's friend or relative while at a shooting range.

 

The bill had previously advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee by a 25-13 margin, and passed the full House by a 240-190 margin. In total, H.R.8 attracted five Republican co-sponsors.

NPR reports on the bill's passage in the House:

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. ...

As its name suggests, the first bill did garner modest GOP support, even attracting five Republican co-sponsors. Yet, in the end, only eight Republicans crossed party lines to support the bill.

 

Chris Cox, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, has been vocal about the NRA's opposition to the bill. "Criminals ... 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 said, according to NPR.

 

As The Daily Wire noted two weeks ago, the bill's advocates now face a very uphill fight in the Senate.

Even if it were to pass out of the full House, the bill faces nearly certain legislative death in the Republican-controlled Senate. While some blue state, pro-gun control Republicans such as Rep. Peter King (R-NY) have signed onto the measure, the overwhelming majority of congressional Republicans are generally reluctant to sign onto legislation opposed by Second Amendment supporters. Roll Call notes that, while Senate Democrats introduced a companion bill...the bill will face "stiff opposition" in the GOP-controlled upper chamber.

Conservatives generally oppose expanding background checks to include private sales and transfers. According to Nate Madden at Blaze Media, House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) warned that the bill "sets a pretext for registration by requiring citizens to essentially beg and plead and pay for the constitutional rights that our forefathers fought for and bled for."

This is not the first time that Congress has tried to advance legislation that would expand background checks on private firearm transfers. In the aftermath of the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced an amendment to a comprehensive gun control bill that would have required background checks on most private firearm transfers. The Manchin-Toomey amendment picked up 54 supporters in the Senate, but 60 votes were needed for cloture.

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