The draft law on universal background checks, H. 8, will be put to a vote and should be adopted by a Democratic majority. The legislation would require a background check of all firearm sales in the country. At present, only licensed arms dealers must conduct a background check of anyone seeking to acquire a firearm. Most unlicensed sellers do not do it; H.R. 8 would make this illegal. The law provides for exemptions such as "gifts to family members and transfers for hunting, shooting and self-defense," according to the website of the Judiciary Committee of the House.
The bill, sponsored by a bipartisan duo of representatives, Mike Thompson, California Democrat, and Peter King, Republican of New York, remains a special case in the House since it enjoys bipartisan support. Most gun control laws have been sponsored by the Democrats.
The bill was co-sponsored by four other Republicans: Brian Mast of Florida, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Chris Smith of New Jersey and Fred Upton of Michigan. King told CNN on Tuesday that he could have a few more Republican colleagues vote for the measure, but "no more than a handful".
At an evening organized to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Brady Campaign Firearms Control Group on Tuesday night, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was confident that the bill on universal verification of criminal records would be adopted by the House of Representatives. During the event, Pelosi also reminded him that his efforts with Senate Chief Chuck Schumer in the 1990s, focused on gun control as "difficult", but "a triumph that has saved millions of lives. "
"Tomorrow we will send him the background check legislation," Pelosi told his Senate colleague with a broad smile.
Schumer predicted that the country was on the brink of "radical change" in gun safety.
"We have a Democratic House that does not flinch, we have a Democratic minority in the Senate that does not flinch, and above all, we have an audience that is excited and strong."
The Democrats, including Pelosi, made it a political priority of the new Congress, holding public hearings on the subject that had not taken place in Congress for years. The legislation is also supported by a multitude of outside groups, including former Congressman and gun control advocate Gabby Giffords, the Brady campaign, Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action.
Once passed by the House, the bill will be sent back to the Senate, where it is unlikely that it will be passed to the House by a Republican majority while a bill often requires 60 votes or more .
On Tuesday, King urged his Senate colleagues to review the bill.
"I think they should let him pass the vote," he said, adding that the average American backed the bill on universal background checks.
"This will probably affect no less than 1% of Americans and those who will suffer, either suffering from mental illness or criminals.For me, this is a phony problem raised by some groups of shooters," he said. said.
Despite pressure from the House, it is unlikely that Senate Republicans will pass the bill, according to a Senate executive.
The majority whip, John Thune – the second Republican in the House – told CNN on Tuesday that it was "unlikely" that the Senate will soon tackle the bill.
Thune mentioned the bill to modernize the national system of instant criminal background checks that the Senate approved last year. This legislation – which was sponsored by Republican John Cornyn and Democrat Chris Murphy – has improved reporting to the national system of background checks. In simple terms, the bill does not strengthen background checks, but encourages state and federal authorities to provide more data to the database.
"I think we have solved this problem here," he said of the efforts of last year.
Another sign of coordinated efforts around the vote: the Everytown Firearms Control Group pays $ 400,000 in advertising purchases and media referrals and targeted Facebook ads asking people to contact their representative about the bill, according to a spokesman for the group.