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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) KingTop GOP lawmakers call for Swalwell to be removed from Intelligence Committee Republican Garbarino wins election to replace retiring Rep. Pete King Katko announces bid to serve as top Republican on Homeland Security panel MORE (N.Y.), who co-authored the bill with Rep. Mike ThompsonCharles (Mike) Michael ThompsonGun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress Democrats reintroduce gun sale background check legislation Biden pledges action on guns amid resistance MORE (D-Calif.), as well as Reps. Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickDemocrats under pressure to deliver on labor's 'litmus test' bill Biden to meet with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure Lawmakers offer gun control bill to end 'boyfriend loophole' MORE (Pa.), Brian MastBrian Jeffrey MastTapper battles GOP lawmakers over criticism of Afghan vet's Electoral College vote Republican war veteran gives Guard troops a tour of the Capitol LIVE COVERAGE: House votes to impeach Trump after Capitol insurrection MORE (Fla.), Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonBiden convenes bipartisan meeting on cancer research Republicans, please save your party Democrats snipe on policy, GOP brawls over Trump MORE (Mich.) and Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithDemocrats under pressure to deliver on labor's 'litmus test' bill Biden can build on Pope Francis's visit to Iraq The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - House boots Greene from committees; Senate plows ahead on budget MORE (N.J.).
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“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.