House GOP secures last-minute change to gun bill

House GOP secures last-minute change to gun bill

In a shocking upset for House Democrats, Republicans managed Wednesday to amend a bill aimed at strengthening background checks on gun purchase to include language requiring that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) get notified when an undocumented immigrant attempts to purchase a gun. 

Democratic leadership failed to whip enough votes against the procedural hurdle, which passed by a 220-209 margin. Twenty-six Democrats joined Republicans during the floor vote.

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The ICE move was aimed at putting moderate Democrats in swing districts in a difficult position. 

"Hear me clearly — no matter what will be said in just a moment, no matter what the chairman or anyone else would say about this bill, if you vote no, you are voting to allow someone who should not have a firearm to get away with it and not be prosecuted for it," House Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsNearly 40 advocacy groups press lawmakers over NSA call records program Trump: Strzok transcript 'devastating' for FBI, DOJ, CIA House Judiciary Republican releases transcript of ex-FBI agent Strzok's testimony MORE (R-Ga.) said on the floor ahead of the vote, which was met with cheers from his GOP colleagues.

Judiciary Chairman Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerThe real reason Nancy Pelosi has backed away from impeachment President Trump should not underestimate Jerry Nadler House heads down wrong path to impeachment with investigations MORE (D-N.Y.) shot back at Collins's remarks, arguing the language was unnecessary since the bill they were voting on requires background checks on all firearm purchases with certain exception including gifts for family members and transfers for hunting, gun ranges or self-defense purposes.

"Now, along comes this motion to recommit which is a total red herring, having nothing to do with the purpose of the bill, and says someone who fails a background check because he's illegally in this country, you should report that to ICE," Nadler said during debate.

"Well, first of all, if he fails a background check because he's illegally in the country, that means the system knows he's illegally in the country. It means they already know that — so what's the point of reporting him?"

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The amendment's passage marks the second victory for Republicans during a procedural vote. Earlier this year, they managed to amend a resolution on Yemen to include language condemning anti-Semitism.

The full bill requiring background checks on all gun purchases passed the House 240-190 on Wednesday, with eight Republicans backing the measure and only two Democrats voting against it.

“There's no reason to continue to make it easy for people who are legally prohibited from possessing firearms to acquire them,” Nadler said during debate on the floor ahead of the vote.

“By circumventing the background check process. H.R. 8 would close this dangerous loophole and save many, many lives."