Meet The Lone Democrat To Vote Against Biden's Background Check Bills

AP Photo/David Sharp, File

The pair of gun control bills that cleared the House of Representatives today passed along mostly party lines. There were eight Republicans voting in favor of H.R. 8, the so-called universal background check bill, while just two members of the House GOP signed on to H.R. 1446; the bill that allows the FBI to take an indefinite period of time to process background checks instead of the three business days allowed under current federal law.


A decade ago, pro-2A Democrats weren’t nearly as hard to find as they are today. In fact, in 2010 a quarter of all House Democrats had “A” ratings from the National Rifle Association. A lot’s changed over the past ten years, and on Thuesday there was just one Democrat in the House willing to buck the party platform on gun control. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine was also the lone Democrat voting against the $1.9-trillion COVID relief package/pork barrel boondoggle, and he stood alone among the Democratic caucus in rejecting the universal background check bill (he was joined by Wisconsin Rep. Ron Kind in opposing H.R. 1446).

In a statement released shortly after the vote, Golden gave his rationale for opposing the first pieces of Joe Biden’s anti-gun agenda to start moving through Congress.

“Many of my constituents have a proud tradition of responsible gun ownership. For us, firearms are a part of daily life. From hunting to competitive shooting to self-defense, we believe that law-abiding citizens have a constitutional right to access and possess firearms.

“I voted against today’s bills in February of 2019, and they remain unchanged since that time. HR 8 is a near mirror image of the Question 3 ballot initiative that failed to pass in Maine in 2016, with all 11 counties in the Second District opposing the measure. While many of my constituents support the background check system we currently have in law, this bill would require background checks for personal transfers, including common loans and trades between individuals.

“To keep firearms out of the hands of criminal offenders, we need to strictly enforce the laws we already have in place and provide the existing background check system with the resources, technology, and staffing necessary to work efficiently and without error. I support increased funding for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to improve and automate the process, eliminate backlogs, and reduce human error. I will oppose efforts to erode our existing background check system because I know that the majority of Mainers support this system and want it to work effectively and efficiently.

“I believe my votes today remain the right decision, but I know some of my constituents feel differently. To those who do, I will continue to work with you to find areas where we do agree and can work together, today and every day that I have the privilege of representing Maine’s Second District.”


Golden is a second term Democrat who narrowly defeated incumbent Republican Bruce Poliquin by getting 50.6% of the vote in 2018. He won re-election last November by a wider margin of 53-47, in part because he hasn’t joined in with his fellow Democrats in embracing an anti-gun agenda. Golden was rated “B” by the National Rifle Association in 2020, which isn’t a fantastic score but far better than the vast majority of Democrats serving in Congress.

As for the Republicans who voted in favor of the gun control bills, here they are:

H.R. 8

Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-16)

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01)

Rep. Andrew Garbarino (NY-02)

Rep. Carlos Gimenez (FL-26)

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16)

Rep. Maria Salazar (FL-27)

Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04)

Rep. Fred Upton (MI-06)

H.R. 1446

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01)

Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04)

I’ve put in interview requests Rep. Fitzpatrick and Rep. Smith asking them to join me on an upcoming episode of Cam & Co to discuss their votes in favor of both of these proposals. I’ve also asked Rep. Golden to take part in an interview at his convenience. Hopefully we’ll be able to hear directly from these representatives about why they voted the way they did on both of these gun control measures.


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