Last Thursday, the House passed a pair of gun bills aimed to expand and strengthen background checks for gun buyers. In order to do so, House Democrats went over Republican heads to push for major gun safety measures after decades of congressional inaction.
Vote Based on Party Lines
The two bills both passed due to partisan voting. The first bill, HR 8, dealt with requiring background checks for all gun buyers. Meanwhile, the second one extends the time the FBI has to vet those flagged by the national instant check system. The House voted 227 – 203 to approve the expansion of background checks. Then, the second bill passed via a 219 – 210 vote.
Despite the House win, these bills do not expect to survive longer. Both measures face insurmountable opposition in the Senate. Republicans do not favor any additional limits on guns. This includes stricter background check requirements or longer wait times. While Democrats can bring the measures to a vote on the Senate floor, they do not have the requisite 60 votes to pass either bill.
New Gun Bills
HR 8, introduced on March 2, 2021, by Representative. Mike Thompson (D-CA) CA-5), makes it unlawful to sell or transfer a firearm without a Brady Background Check. This bill expands the current Brady Law to every sale or transfer in private sales. Transactions become subject to narrow exceptions.
Meanwhile, HR 1446, introduced by Representative Jim Clyburn (D-SC), adds more time to make background checks on gun buyers. The background check system will receive additional time to make a final determination on a potential firearms purchaser. The bill closes what is known as the Charleston loophole. This allows dealers to proceed with a transaction if the background check fails to complete within three business days. The bill pushes the background check time from 3 days to up to 10 days.
NRA Issues Statement
The National Rifle Association reacted to the House approval of the two bills. Jason Ouimet, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, released the following statement:
“These bills are a transparent attempt by gun control advocates in Congress to restrict the rights of law-abiding Americans under the guise of addressing the violent criminal culture in America. The truth, however, is that neither of these bills will do anything to solve that problem. By giving full power to unelected government bureaucrats to indefinitely delay and prevent lawful firearm transfers, HR 1446 could ultimately destroy the Second Amendment rights guaranteed to every law-abiding American by turning it into a privilege enjoyed by a select few.”
“HR 8, so-called “universal” background checks, cannot be enforced without a federal gun registry, will not prevent crime, and will turn otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals for simply loaning a firearm to friends or family members. If Congress is serious about the safety of law-abiding citizens, it should have passed concealed carry reciprocity so that Americans can safeguard themselves and their families across state lines and throughout our country during these dangerous times.”
Criticism of the Gun Bills
Critics mocked the newly passed bills, saying that neither can stop the most notorious mass shootings of recent history. “The Democrats have rushed two bills to the floor, no regular order, no hearing time. 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,” declared Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC).
On the floor during deliberations, Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) said a gun registry is an ultimate aim. “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,” he said.
ILA View on the Charleston Loophole
Critics also assailed the extension of FBI background checks from three business days to 10. The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (ILA), a gun rights advocacy group, points out that the term “loophole” is misleading. In addition, it’s wrong to see extending the number of days can prevent the Charleston shooting.
“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 ILA said. The ILA says that the FBI would still allow the shooter to buy a gun anyway.
Watch the Forbes Breaking News where GOP lawmaker rips Democrats' gun control bill, warns it threatens Second Amendment
How do you find HR 8 and 1446? Plus, do you agree that these are unnecessary bills that won’t solve any problems? What measures do you suggest instead? Let us know what you think about gun control. Share your thoughts below.