On Thursday, the House passed two controversial bills aimed at enacting background checks for all gun sales and transfers, including private sales between neighbors, as well as closing the so-called “Charleston Loophole” to extend the waiting period the government may take if a background check is not completed in a timely fashion.
H.R. 8, The Bipartisan Background Checks Act, passed 227-203. Eight GOP House members broke ranks and voted in favor of the legislation. This includes Reps. Vern Buchanan of Florida, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Andrew Garbarino of New York, Carlos Gimenez of Florida, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Maria Salazar of Florida, Chris Smith of New Jersey, and Fred Upton of Michigan. Salazar, Gimenez, and Garbarino are all freshman members.
The bill was first proposed by Rep. Mike Thompson of California. Fitzpatrick, Smith, and Upton co-sponsored the background check legislation with Democratic Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Lucy McBath of Georgia, and Robin Kelly of Illinois.
“Today, I voted for the Bipartisan Background Checks Act to close a loophole exploited by dangerous criminals to side-step the system and illegally obtain firearms. The simple fix helps promote safe, sensible, and responsible gun ownership,” said Gimenez in a statement.
As explained by gun expert Ryan Cleckner, this bill would not stop criminals from getting guns. Nor would it have stopped the recent mass murders, most of which were obtained with illegal guns.
My full statement on background check legislation: pic.twitter.com/nXhkzXSShM
— Rep. Carlos A. Gimenez (@RepCarlos) March 11, 2021
Republicans argued the measure would violate constitutional rights by making it more difficult to access a firearm. Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky gave the example of someone attempting to escape a toxic relationship.
“Imagine, just imagine now that you’re the victim of an abusive relationship,” said Massie, “and after five years you’ve summoned the courage and the resources to separate from that relationship. Things have escalated. Now you’ve decided it’s time to acquire the means to protect you and your children.”
“So you go to the gun store and you try to buy a gun,” Massie continued. “The clerk presses the computer button. It says denied. You ask the clerk, ‘Why was it denied?’ ‘I don’t know, this happens sometimes, maybe you had a similar name as someone else in the database, you can’t buy a gun today, tomorrow, next week, not ever.’ … So you go to a friend … your friend says ‘I’d like to help you, but don’t you know HR-8 passed and it was signed by the president? I can’t spend eight years in a cage! Good luck tonight.'”
Every part of this tweet is a lie. We already have background checks — Massie is talking about Dems' desire to extend the three-day waiting period. And there are scores of reported examples of women in this situation. https://t.co/ZMl7bEogUy
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) March 11, 2021
H.R. 8 would additionally create a database of all firearm transactions.
“This is about creating a gun registry to track guns of the American people. There is no way to implement what the Democrats are trying to implement without doing that,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, said Wednesday on the House floor.
“The Democrats have rushed two bills to the floor, no regular order, no hearing time,” Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., said Wednesday. “They have allowed no meaningful input from Republicans and – and these bills, again, would have not stopped a single mass shooting, not Newtown, not Charleston, not Parkland, not Las Vegas, not Sutherland Springs, would not have stopped the shooting of our former colleague, Gabrielle Giffords, because her shooter passed a background check.”
The second bill, H.R. 1446, intends to extend the waiting period from three days to 10 days in which a government official can approve a gun sale. This has been labeled the Charleston Loophole, after a church shooting in South Carolina that left nine dead.
“The 3 day proceed to sale provision is a safety valve that ensures gun purchasers in the U.S. are not arbitrarily denied their Second Amendment Rights. Without the 3 day provision, the FBI has no incentive to complete checks in a timely manner,” The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action said in a statement.
As David Harsanyi noted on H.R. 1446 a few weeks ago:
The three-day provision exists to ensure that the government — the same government that was home, for instance, to Lois Lerner’s IRS — does not begin arbitrarily delaying Americans the chance to use their Second Amendment rights. Indeed, it was explicitly written into the law for that purpose. Clyburn’s bill, as is the case with all gun-control measures these days, would primarily target lawful people — such as churchgoers who want to protect themselves and other parishioners — and make it more difficult or more time-consuming for them to own guns, while doing nothing of consequence to the people who already ignore the law.
Unless Democrats can acquire 10 Republican votes in the Senate, the two measures are unlikely to obtain the 60 votes necessary to be signed into law.