Bipartisan Background Checks Act Passes The House

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Democrats in the House of Representatives have proposed and passed the first gun control bill of the 116th Congress.

The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 received the necessary votes to move on to the Senate Wednesday after passing on a 240-190 vote.

The purpose of the Act is “to utilize the current background checks process in the United States to ensure individuals prohibited from gun possession are not able to obtain firearms.”

According to the text of the bill, it would require a background check for every gun sale.

It reads in part:

(A) It shall be unlawful for any person who is not a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to transfer a firearm to any other person who is not so licensed, unless a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer has first taken possession of the firearm for the purpose of complying with subsection (s).

The text of the legislation does provide some exemptions.

(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to—

(A) a law enforcement agency or any law enforcement officer, armed private security professional, or member of the armed forces, to the extent the officer, professional, or member is acting within the course and scope of employment and official duties;

(B) a transfer that is a loan or bona fide gift between spouses, between domestic partners, between parents and their children, between siblings, between aunts or uncles and their nieces or nephews, or between grandparents and their grandchildren;

Republicans and Second Amendment supporters knew the bill would pass the House of Representatives as Democrats are in the majority.  However, the legislation is expected to die in the Senate. If the universal background check bill were to pass the Senate and go before the president, there are signs that the president would veto the legislation.

Democratic members of Congress claim the legislation will close loopholes in the nation’s gun laws when it comes to firearm purchases at gun shows or through online sales. These “loopholes,” however, don’t exist, as federal law already mandates that any licensed gun dealer must require an individual to undergo a background check before they purchase a firearm, whether the federally licensed gun dealer is operating at a gun show, gun store, or online.

What Democrats want is background checks for private sales between non-licensed individuals.

As Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon explained on Twitter, the language Democrats use regarding “loopholes” is dishonest, and not based on facts.

The National Rifle Association’s Dana Loesch also weighed in on Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s tweet.

Before the passage of the bill, Republican lawmakers were able to add an amendment that would require the notification of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if an illegal immigrant attempts to buy a firearm, which several Democratic representatives crossed over to support.

The universal background check legislation had five Republican co-sponsors, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI).