U.S. House takes aim at loose gun-sale
checks; passes second bill
Send a link to a friend
[March 01, 2019]
By Amanda Becker
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of
Representatives on Thursday approved a second bill in as many days to
toughen background checks for gun purchases, but both bills were likely
to face opposition from the Republican-controlled Senate and the White
The bills are the first major gun control measures approved in Congress
in many years. They are an early move to address gun violence by
Democrats after capturing majority control of the House in the November
2018 congressional midterm elections.
The Senate remains controlled by Republicans, many of whom are closely
allied with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun-rights voters,
who fiercely defend what they see as their constitutional right to own
While Republican President Donald Trump has said he supports stronger
background checks, he has thus far toed the party line on gun control
legislation, leaving Washington deadlocked on how to address frequent
mass shootings in the United States.
From 2009 to 2017, there were at least 173 shootings in which four or
more people were killed, with at least 1,001 total deaths, according to
the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.
Thursday's background check bill would extend the number of days
government authorities have to complete a background check before a gun
sale. It passed by a 228-198 House vote.
Wednesday's bill would expand background checks to include firearm
purchases at gun shows and over the internet. It was approved 240-190.
Both votes were largely along party lines.
The White House said on Monday that Trump's advisers would recommend the
president veto both pieces of legislation if they reached his desk
because the first would impose "burdensome requirements" and the second
[to top of second column]
Guns for sale are seen inside of Dick's Sporting Goods store in
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo
The current background check process allows a gun purchase to
proceed after three days, even if a background check has not been
completed, said Democratic Representative James Clyburn from South
Carolina, who sponsored Thursday's bill.
He said that process resulted in 4,800 gun sales in 2017 to
individuals with criminal records, a history of mental illness and
other disqualifying circumstances.
"FBI analysis of the current background check system shows that 3
business days isn't enough time to decide if someone shouldn’t be
allowed to own a gun," Clyburn said on Twitter.
His bill aims to close what Democrats call the "Charleston loophole"
in the background check law by extending the window to complete a
check to 10 days. They say the loophole allowed Dylann Roof to
purchase the gun he used to kill nine people at a Charleston, South
Carolina, church in 2015.
Representative Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House
Judiciary Committee, where the background check bills originated, on
Thursday called them "misguided" and said "my constitutional rights
could be deferred indefinitely."
(Reporting by Amanda Becker; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Susan
[© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2019 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.