Bill requiring federal background checks for gun sales passed by House Dems despite Donald Trump's veto threat
Reports state that Democrats in the House called the 240-190 vote a crucial step in ending the gun violence epidemic in the country and a cessation of the gun lobby's control on Washington.
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives approved a bill on Wednesday that requires federal background checks for all firearm sales and transfers. This is the first major gun legislation in nearly 25 years being considered by Congress.
Reports state that Democrats in the House called the 240-190 vote a crucial step in ending the gun violence epidemic in the US and a cessation of the gun lobby's control on Washington.
The measure is the first of the two bills that Democrats have brought to the House floor this week as part of an effort to tighten gun control laws.
The other bill seeks to extend the review period for the background checks from three days to 10 days, the Daily Mail reported.
The bills have been passed by the House despite facing dim prospects in the Republican-controlled Senate. President Donald Trump has also issued veto threats to the measure, saying they would impose unreasonable requirements on gun owners.
The White House released a veto message saying that the background-checks bill could prevent someone from borrowing a firearm for self-defense or allowing a neighbor to take care of their gun while traveling.
However, Democrats have called these arguments misleading, stating that gun owners have a responsibility to ensure firearms they own are properly handled. The legislation reportedly includes exceptions, allowing temporary transfers to prevent imminent harm.
The House Democrats argued that the long-delayed bill would close loopholes to ensure background checks are extended to private and online sals which go undetected a lot of times.
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif. said: "People who are felons or are dangerously mentally ill shouldn't have guns," regardless of whether they buy their firearm from a federally licensed dealer or their neighbor. Thompson is a key sponsor of the bill and has pushed for expanded background checks since the killing of 20 elementary school students in Newton, Connecticut in 2012.
"For six-and-a-half years, we had no cooperation from the past majority" in the House, Thompson added. "We couldn't get a hearing on the bill. We couldn't get a vote. Today, we're here to tell you it's a new day. With this (Democratic) majority, we have made a commitment to address the issue of gun violence."
Reports state that the Democrats in the House either wore orange ties or orange scarves, a color used by the movement against gun violence, to show their support for the bill.
Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa, who wore a bright orange scarf, said: "I long for the day when orange scarves are a fashion statement, not a cry for help."