House GOP secures last-minute change to gun bill

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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.

{mosads}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 Collins (R-Ga.) said on the floor ahead of the vote, which was met with cheers from his GOP colleagues.

Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (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?”

The defectors on the measure included Democratic Reps. Cindy Axne (Iowa), Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.), Jim Costa (Calif.), Angie Craig (Minn.), Charlie Crist (Fla.), Joe Cunningham (S.C.), Antonio Delgado (N.Y.). Abby Finkenauer (Iowa), Jared Golden (Maine), Josh Gotteimer (N.J.), Kendra Horn (Okla.), Andy Kim (N.J.) Conor Lamb (Pa.), Susie Lee (Nev.), Elaine Luria (Va.), Ben McAdams (Utah), Stephanie Murphy (Fla.), Tom O’Halleran (Ariz.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Max Rose (N.Y.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.). Elissa Slotkin (Mich.), Abigail Spanberger (Va.), Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.) and Jeff Van Drew (N.J.).

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.”

Tags Abby Finkenauer Abigail Spanberger Antonio Delgado Background checks Charlie Crist Cindy Axne Collin Peterson Doug Collins Elaine Luria Elissa Slotkin Gun control Jeff Van Drew Jerry Nadler Jim Costa Joe Cunningham Kendra Horn Kurt Schrader Max Rose Mikie Sherrill Stephanie Murphy Susie Lee

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