House passes second major gun bill

The House voted Thursday to approve legislation that would extend the review period for background checks on firearm purchases, making it the second major gun bill to pass in as many days.

The Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019 passed in a 228-198 vote. Three Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the measure. Seven Democrats opted to buck party lines and vote against the bill.

The legislation, spearheaded by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Rep. Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamOvernight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe House approves two bills to block Trump drilling Bill requiring carbon monoxide detectors in public housing passes House MORE (D-S.C.) and Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) Thomas KingHotel industry mounts attack on Airbnb with House bill Obama's tan suit controversy hits 5-year anniversary First House Republican backs bill banning assault weapons MORE (R-N.Y.), would lengthen the initial review period for a background check from three to 10 days.

Following the 10-day period, gun buyers could request “an escalated review to spur the FBI to complete its investigation” if the background check isn’t completed. If the background check remains incomplete after that period, the purchase can be completed.

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Proponents of the bill say it’s needed to close the so-called Charleston loophole, arguing the current three-day waiting period allowed the shooter in the Emanuel AME Church massacre to obtain his weapon.

Clyburn applauded Jennifer Pinckney and her two daughters for coming to the Capitol for the vote Wednesday. The family lost their father during the mass shooting at Emanuel AME in 2015.

“I'm here today to say that the members of this august body need to think a little bit about the value of those lives,” Clyburn said during debate on the House floor.

“Are they more valuable than the inconvenience a gun purchaser may have by having to wait 10 rather than three days to make a purchase? What would make one so anxious to purchase a gun in the first place?"

Top Republicans slammed the measure, saying the extension places excessive hurdles on those trying to purchase a firearm.

House Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsJustice OIG completes probe on FBI surveillance of ex-Trump campaign aide Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers ramp up Silicon Valley antitrust probe | Treasury sanctions North Korean cyber groups | Thiel to host Kobach fundraiser House antitrust panel seeks internal records from Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook MORE (R-Ga.) argued the bill places an unnecessary burden on buyers and could prevent law-abiding citizens from obtaining a firearm.

“I'm not sure if H.R. 1112 was written this way out of just messed-up writing or malice. I'm not sure, but it does do this and there's no mistaking what is written,” he said on the floor. “As I said many times, we do not vote on aspirational ideas in this chamber. They're great to debate, but we don't vote on aspirational ideas. We vote on words on paper and words on paper are just as I have described. I will let the American people determine what the intent was here.”

Democrats have placed a strong emphasis on gun regulations since taking back power in the lower chamber. The bill was the second gun-related measure to pass this week. House Democrats managed to pass sweeping legislation in a 240-190 vote Wednesday that would require all gun sellers to conduct background checks on firearm buyers.

Both bills face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate. President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE has also threatened to veto the measures should they pass both chambers.