Eight Republicans side with Dems on background checks for gun sales

Eight Republicans side with Dems on background checks for gun sales
© Greg Nash
Eight House Republicans voted with Democrats on Wednesday to support legislation that would require universal background checks for gun sales, despite opposition from the gun lobby.
 
Nearly all the Republicans who broke with their party are centrists, including several who represent competitive swing districts.
 
The number of GOP defectors was only slightly higher than the five Republicans who had signed on as co-sponsors to the legislation.
 
Those five are Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) Thomas KingLawmakers offer bill to boost Alzheimer's funding Hillicon Valley: Facebook unveils new cryptocurrency | Waters wants company to halt plans | Democrats look to force votes on election security | Advertisers partner with tech giants on 'digital safety' | House GOP unveils cyber agenda House Homeland Security Republicans to introduce slew of cybersecurity bills MORE (N.Y.), who co-authored the bill with Rep. Mike ThompsonCharles (Mike) Michael ThompsonDemocrats struggle with repeal of key Trump tax provision House panel approves bills on tax extenders, expanding tax credits House Democrats release bills to renew tax breaks, expand tax credits for workers and families MORE (D-Calif.), as well as Reps. Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickThe four House Democrats who voted against the border funding bill Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Addressing climate change is a win for Republicans — why not embrace it? MORE (Pa.), Brian MastBrian Jeffrey MastGOP launches anti-BDS discharge petition Conserving tiny forage fish, the heroes of our shared ocean ecosystem Conservation remains a core conservative principle MORE (Fla.), Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonHouse passes bill to protect 'Dreamers' Thirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill Overnight Health Care: Lawmakers get deal to advance long-stalled drug pricing bill | House votes to condemn Trump's anti-ObamaCare push | Eight House Republicans join with Dems | Trump officials approve Medicaid expansion in Maine MORE (Mich.) and Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithLawmakers sound alarm over violence in Sudan The four House Democrats who voted against the border funding bill New Jersey governor signs rideshare safety law in honor of murdered college student MORE (N.J.).
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But three more Republicans joined them in supporting final passage of the measure Wednesday: Reps. Vern BuchananVernon Gale BuchananMORE (Fla.), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record House passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban House passes bill to protect 'Dreamers' MORE (Fla.) and Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdThe four House Democrats who voted against the border funding bill Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Senate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats MORE (Texas).
 
“Our laws cannot be effective if there are gaping loopholes that allow criminals and deranged individuals to purchase firearms at gun shows or over the Internet without being subject to background checks. Today I voted for HR 8 to close these loopholes - a proposal supported by over 90 percent of gun owners in America, according to respected polling organizations," Buchanan said in a statement, according to a local ABC affiliate.
 
The legislation would require universal background checks for gun sales, including at gun shows and in private online transactions. Current law only requires licensed firearms dealers to conduct background checks before making a sale.
 
But it does carve out exemptions for certain circumstances, including transfers between family members, use in hunting, and when "necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm," such as domestic violence.
 
 
Democrats also plan to target King, Mast and Upton in 2020, while Smith, Buchanan and Diaz-Balart are considered to represent safe GOP seats.
 
Mast won reelection last November by 9 points. He has gone beyond supporting an expansion of the background check to a more stringent gun control measure: an assault weapons ban.
 
Mast, an Army veteran who lost both his legs while serving in Afghanistan, wrote in a New York Times op-ed after last year's shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., "I cannot support the primary weapon I used to defend our people being used to kill children I swore to defend."
 
 
 
Golden, a freshman, said he opposed the legislation because it's similar to a ballot initiative that Maine voters rejected in 2016.
 
"Maine isn’t Chicago, Washington, or New York. For many of my constituents, access to firearms is a necessary part of daily life and we have a tradition of responsible gun ownership," Golden said in a statement. 
 
“To keep firearms out of the hands of criminal offenders, we need to strictly enforce the background check system already in place and provide it with the resources necessary to work," he added.
 
The House approved the background check legislation in a vote of 240-190 on Wednesday. Before the final vote, Republicans in the minority won on a procedural vote that added language to the bill requiring U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be notified when immigrants who don't have legal status attempt to purchase a firearm.