WASHINGTON – After a surprise GOP amendment targeting undocumented immigrants, the Democrat-controlled House on Wednesday approved a step requiring the federal government's background check for all firearm sales and transfers, the first of which important law on gun control considered by Congress for nearly 25 years.
Democrats have called the 240-190 vote a decisive step to end the gun lobby's grip on Washington and start tackling an epidemic of gun violence, of which 17 people have been killed in a Florida high school last year.
The bill includes a Republican amendment requiring gun dealers to prevent immigration and customs services when an illegal immigrant tries to buy a firearm. Twenty-six Democrats joined the Republicans in supporting the amendment proposed by Doug Collins, R-Ga.
The bill is the first of two that Democrats bring to the House this week as part of an effort to strengthen gun laws after eight years of Republican control. The other bill would extend the period of examination of background checks from three to ten days.
Both bills face bleak prospects in the Republican-controlled Senate and vetoed threats by President Donald Trump, who said they would impose unreasonable demands on gun owners.
In a veto message, the White House said the bill on background checks could prevent a person from borrow a gun to defend himself or authorize a neighbor to take care of himself. A gun while traveling.
Democrats have termed these arguments as fallacious and have stated that gun owners have the responsibility to ensure that firearms are handled properly. The bill includes exceptions allowing temporary transfers to prevent imminent damage or for use in a target range.
The long-delayed bill would simply remove loopholes to ensure that background checks are extended to private sales and online sales that are often not detected, the Democrat said.
"People who are criminals or dangerous mentally ill people should not have firearms," no matter if they buy them from a federally registered dealer or their immediate neighbor, said Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., A key sponsor has requested more extensive background checks since the massacre of 20 primary school students in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.
"For six and a half years we had no cooperation from the previous majority" in the House, Thompson said. "We were unable to get a hearing on the bill, we could not get a vote, and today we are here to tell you that we are living a new life. With this majority (Democrat), we are committed to solving the problem of gun violence. "
To demonstrate their support for the bill, Thompson and other Democrats wore orange ties, while others wore orange scarves, the color used by the movement against gun violence.
Representative Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., Said she hoped the symbolism would soon become obsolete.
"I look forward to the day when orange scarves are a fashion statement, not a call for help," said Dean, who wore a bright orange scarf.
Steve Scalise, R-La., Who was seriously injured during the shooting at a shooting session at the center of a congressional session, said that a stricter check of the criminal record would not have prevented his shooting nor any other tragedies.
"It would make criminals disappear from law-abiding citizens," Scalise said. "If you go hunting with a friend and your friend wants to borrow your gun, you better bring your lawyer with you because, depending on what you do with this weapon, you could be a criminal if you lend him. "
Democrats said the bill provides exceptions allowing temporary transfers to anyone who feels threatened by a national partner or another person. The bill also allows the owner of a firearm to lend him his gun and use it at a target distance.
Collins, the main Republican of the House's Judiciary Committee, opposed the bill as a whole, saying it "foolishly presumes that criminals who violate the laws in force will suddenly submit to a background check. ".
Democrats and other supporters of the bill are "delusional" in that they think that "a criminal who exchanges cocaine with another criminal against a gun will be re-examined because of the" draft of law on background checks, said Collins.
But Kris Brown, chairman of Brady, a gun control group previously known as Brady's Armed Violence Prevention Campaign, said the bill would save lives.
Brown called the vote in the House "a monumental step forward for the prevention of gun violence in our country" and welcomed Thompson and other lawmakers who lobbied for this move to be passed.
"In the Senate!" she says.