House Democrats Plan to Pass Stricter Background Check Laws

Posted: Feb 27, 2019 1:00 PM
House Democrats Plan to Pass Stricter Background Check Laws

Source: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

House Democrats plan Wednesday to pass legislation that requires universal background checks for gun sales, followed by a vote Thursday to require a longer review period for background checks.

“We have been partaking in a grisly ritual. We have a mass shooting, we have a moment of silence, and then there has been inaction. This signifies the end of that,” Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) said. She serves as the vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus.

The Bipartisan Background Checks Act, written by Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Pete King (R-NY), will make it mandatory for gun shows and gun sales over the internet to have background checks.

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) said on Tuesday that while the bill will do a lot to prevent potential mass shooters from obtaining weapons, it doesn’t contain any rules that would allow Congress to establish a national gun registry.

He also said that the only way to prevent all gun violence is to make gun ownership illegal.

“As far as anybody who says, ‘Well, this bill wouldn’t have solved this incident,’ the only thing that will solve every one is to do away with guns,” Thompson said. “So are you telling me that the critics of my bill want to do away with all guns?”

GOP Congressmen stated that they don't support either one of the bills. Rep, Jim Jordan (R-OH) said that the bills, titled H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112, "Both come directly after your Second Amendment liberties."

@repjimjordan is back to reiterate how dangerous #HR8 and #HR1112 really are. "Universal" background checks lead to a national registry, which leads to confiscation - plain and simple. We must fight back and contact our lawmakers. LINK IN BIO!

2,166 Likes, 23 Comments - NRA (@nationalrifleassociation) on Instagram: "@repjimjordan is back to reiterate how dangerous #HR8 and #HR1112 really are. "Universal"..."

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) said the bills, "would only make it harder for law-abiding Americans to actually protect and defend themselves."

We had a great conversation today with @dancrenshawtx about how #HR8 and #HR1112 exist to limit our constitutional rights under the guise of improving safety. Rep. Crenshaw is a freedom-fighting patriot and true defender of #2A.

6,269 Likes, 88 Comments - NRA (@nationalrifleassociation) on Instagram: "We had a great conversation today with @dancrenshawtx about how #HR8 and #HR1112 exist to limit our..."

With H.R. 8 passed in the House, the NRA provided a statement condemning the members' decision.

“This extreme gun-control bill will make criminals out of law-abiding Americans," said Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. "It will also make it harder for good people to defend themselves and their families. 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. On behalf of our members and supporters, the National Rifle Association will continue to fight to preserve the constitutionally protected right to self-defense.”

The Hill reported that the Democrats’ shifted dramatically in their stance on gun purchases and ownership since the early 2000s. During the Bush administration, Democrats were able to pass legislation designed to motivate states to send red-flag cases to the FBI.

“But the law did not restrict gun sales or ownership,” The Hill wrote. “And Democratic leaders at the time took pains not to promote legislation that did so. The caucus then featured more conservative-leaning Democrats, including many who were gun rights defenders, and gun reform was still thought to be a third-rail of politics that could threaten Democrats in red-leaning districts.”

The new bills are going through Congress in reaction to a series of shootings that occurred in the U.S. This includes last year’s tragedy when 17 people were shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was able to pass a background check to obtain his Smith & Wesson M&P 15 rifle.

Editor's note-- this piece has been updated to include the GOP's reaction, the NRA's reaction and provide details about the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooter's ability to pass a background check.