The eight Republicans who voted to tighten background checks on guns
Eight House GOP lawmakers bucked party lines and joined Democrats in supporting legislation aimed at strengthening background checks on firearm sales and transfers on Thursday.
The Bipartisan Background Checks Act — spearheaded by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) — ultimately passed in a 227-203 vote, with one Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Jared Golden (Maine), opting to vote against it.
The bill would put new background check requirements in place for gun transfers between private parties.
Currently, unlicensed and private sellers are not required to conduct background checks for transfers on firearms despite licensed dealers being required to do so.
While the majority of Republicans pushed back against the measure, arguing it would be an infringement on Americans’ constitutional rights and argued it could hinder abuse victims from obtaining a gun for protection purposes in a timely fashion, proponents argued the measure would help curb gun violence and prevent firearms from falling in the wrong hands.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), one of the eight who supported the bill, said he is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and feels that the measure adds precautions to help curb gun violence without overreaching on law-abiding citizens ability to obtain a firearm.
“I believe that in order to curb evildoers from having access to firearms, we have to be willing to make some changes for the greater good. This legislation by itself will not stop violence. It will help, but the core of our issues cannot be changed by laws. We cannot detect or deter evil by legislating. Accepting the reality that this evil exists is part of it, as well as holding those who commit these crimes accountable,” he said in a statement.
“In the face of the evil that threatens the fabric of what this nation stands for, we must unite and stand against such hatred. It’s why I took this vote today, making a choice to work towards a better tomorrow for our children and the future of this country,” he added.
Here are the Republican members that voted in favor of the bill:
Rep. Vern Buchanan (Fla.)
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.)
Rep. Andrew Garbarino (N.Y.)
Rep. Carlos Gimenez (Fla.)
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.)
Rep. Maria Salazar (Fla.)
Rep. Chris Smith (N.J.)
Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.)
Upton, Smith and Fitzpatrick co-sponsored the legislation, which faces an uphill battle in the upper chamber.
Smith and Fitzpatrick also joined with Democrats in supporting the Enhanced Background Checks Act — led by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) — which looks to close the “Charleston loophole.” The loophole provides that if the national background check system is not immediately able to determine if a purchaser is able to legally buy a weapon, and the FBI does not conduct an investigation within 3 days, the seller of the gun is allowed to proceed with the sale. The bill passed in a 219-210 vote later in the day. Golden and Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) voted against the measure.