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 CunninghamConservative group unveils million ad campaign against Trump impeachment Club for Growth extends advertising against House Dems over impeachment Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising MORE (D-S.C.) and Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) KingHouse panel advances flavored e-cigarette ban Hillicon Valley: Schumer questions Army over use of TikTok | Federal court rules against random searches of travelers' phones | Groups push for election security funds in stopgap bill | Facebook's new payment feature | Disney+ launch hit by glitches The Hill's Morning Report - Witness transcripts plow ground for public impeachment testimony 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 CollinsGOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse House to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members GOP lawmaker: Schiff should be first witness Republicans call to testify in impeachment inquiry 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 TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE has also threatened to veto the measures should they pass both chambers.