Law & the Courts

House Passes Bill Requiring Background Check for All Gun Purchases

(Steve Marcus/REUTERS)

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would require all would-be gun buyers, including those who wish to enter into private transactions, to undergo a federal criminal-background check.

The Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which would require that prospective gun owners submit to a background check before being gifted a firearm or purchasing one from a private seller, passed the Democrat-controlled House 240–190 with the support of eight Republicans.

The bill, introduced by Democrat Mike Thompson of California and Republican Peter King of New York, would represent the most significant gun-control measure in decades if passed, but it is sure to encounter opposition from the Republican-controlled Senate and President Trump.

Just moments before the Wednesday vote, Republicans successfully amended the legislation to include a provision that would require gun sellers to alert Immigration and Customs Enforcement if an illegal immigrant attempts to purchase a gun.

Proponents of the legislation, including Representative Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.), argue that it will help prevent mentally ill Americans from purchasing guns and, as a result, will reduce mass shootings in schools and other public venues.

“There’s no reason to continue to make it easy for people who are legally prohibited from possessing firearms to acquire them by circumventing the background-check process,” Nadler said on the House floor before the vote. “H.R. 8 would close this dangerous loophole and save many, many lives.”

Critics of the bill have pointed out that it would not have prevented many of the recent mass shootings that were carried out by individuals who either had no criminal background or stole the firearm they used from a family member.

Representative Steve Scalise (R., La.), who sustained life-threatening injuries after being shot during a practice for the annual Congressional baseball game two years ago, argued that the bill would jeopardize lawful gun owners’ ability to trade and gift their firearms in a video message disseminated by the National Rifle Association.

In the video, Scalise refers to H.R. 112, which would provide the FBI with more time to complete a background check on a gun buyer. Under current law, a gun retailer can make a sale if they have not heard back from the FBI regarding a purchaser’s background check within three days. The House is expected to vote on that bill on Thursday.

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (conference calls, social-media groups, etc.). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going. Consider it?

If you enjoyed this article, and were stimulated by its contents, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.


Most Popular


White Cats and Black Swans

Making a film of Cats is a bold endeavor — it is a musical with no real plot, based on T. S. Eliot’s idea of child-appropriate poems, and old Tom was a strange cat indeed. Casting Idris Elba as the criminal cat Macavity seems almost inevitable — he has always made a great gangster — but I think there was ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Other Case against Reparations

Reparations are an ethical disaster. Proceeding from a doctrine of collective guilt, they are the penalty for slavery and Jim Crow, sins of which few living Americans stand accused. An offense against common sense as well as morality, reparations would take from Bubba and give to Barack, never mind if the former ... Read More
Health Care

The Puzzling Problem of Vaping

San Francisco -- A 29-story office building at 123 Mission Street illustrates the policy puzzles that fester because of these facts: For centuries, tobacco has been a widely used, legal consumer good that does serious and often lethal harm when used as it is intended to be used. And its harmfulness has been a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

May I See Your ID?

Identity is big these days, and probably all days: racial identity, ethnic identity, political identity, etc. Tribalism. It seems to be baked into the human cake. Only the consciously, persistently religious, or spiritual, transcend it, I suppose. (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor ... Read More

Wolf Warrior II Tells Us a Lot about China

The Chinese economy is taking a big hit as a result of the trade war with the U.S: A leading export indicator has fallen several months in a row, Chinese companies postponed campus recruitment, and auto and housing sales dropped. A number of U.S. manufacturers are moving production outside of China. So ... Read More