AP Photo/Brennan Linsley
We knew something was coming, and here it is. A House very antagonistic toward guns has passed the first of what is likely to be several gun control bills of this Congress. If House Democrats get their way, universal background checks will be the law of the land. But it’s only the start.
In one of their biggest moments since winning the majority in November, House Democrats pushed through legislation on Wednesday mandating federal criminal background checks on all gun sales, including private transactions.
For Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats, it represents a signature moment as they try to fulfill their campaign pledge to take action on gun violence.
he House passed the bill on a 240-190 vote. Eight Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with the Democrats, while two Democrats — Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Collin Peterson of Minnesota — voted with Republicans against the legislation.
The background checks legislation faces stiff opposition in the GOP-controlled Senate, and President Donald Trump — who has strong backing from the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups — has vowed to veto the bill if it ever reaches his desk.
“Background checks work,” Rep. Mike Thompson of California, the lead Democratic author on the background checks bill, said on the House floor. “Every day, they stop 170 felons and 50 domestic abusers from getting a gun from a licensed dealer. But, in some states, those same people can go into a gun show or go online and buy a gun without a background check. This bill will help stop them from doing so.
“Some will argue that criminals won’t follow the law,” he said. “If that is the case, then why do we have laws against murder? People still commit murder. Why do we have laws against stealing? People still steal. This is flawed logic. Don’t fall for it.”
No, it’s not flawed logic.
Laws against murder stop bad people who are otherwise law-abiding from committing murder. It doesn’t have an impact on good, decent folks who wouldn’t murder someone ordinarily. Laws against murder are actually why a fair number of people are still breathing, so the law does restrain some people.
But universal background checks are a different matter. It’s a law that will only apply to law-abiding citizens and turn many of them into criminals.
You see, while the law provides a couple of exceptions such as letting someone borrow a gun at the range to let them shoot or to loan a gun to someone who is in immediate danger, it doesn’t exempt all loans.
The only saving grace in this is that a snowball in Hell has better odds of surviving than this bill does in the Senate.
However, it’s far from the only bill being considered.
Later today, a vote is expected on a bill that will expand the period dealers are required to wait to hear back on a background check from a licensed dealer. This is expected to pass as well, especially as the three-day wait is being billed as insufficient after the Charleston shooter got his gun after such a wait. He should never have passed the check.
As per usual, Democrats fail to address the system failures and instead will continue to create new regulations that will interfere with the lives of ordinary, law-abiding Americans…as per usual.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post stated there is not an exception for transfers between family members. However, according to H.R. 8, “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,” is permitted.