House Passes Two Gun Background Check Bills

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House Passes Two Gun Background Check Bills

Two bills that would tighten federal background checks for gun purchases passed the House of Representatives this week


By a vote of 219-210 the House approved HR 1446 and by a vote of 227-203 the House passed HR 8. Here is how VoteSpotter describes HR 1446:


To increase from 3 to 10 days the maximum time period that an individual must wait to receive a completed background check under an "instant background check" system. Most background checks are completed while a customer waits, and current law establishes that if not completed within 3 days a federally-licensed gun dealer may transfer a gun to a buyer. Under this bill, if a check is not completed after 10 days, the potential buyer could petition for a final determination. If an additional 10 days go by without a completed check, the gun dealer could then sell the gun to the buyer.


And here is how VoteSpotter describes HR 8:


To require individuals who transfer a firearm to another person to do so through a federal firearms licensed gun dealer, who must conduct a background check on the individual receiving the gun. Currently, retail gun dealers must complete background checks prior to selling a gun to an individual. This legislation expands that requirement to transfers between private individuals except for some limited circumstances such as a parent giving a child a gun or a gift from a spouse.


Backers of these bills argued that they are needed to close loopholes that allow felons and other dangerous people to obtain guns. They argue that there should be universal background checks for gun purchases and people should not be able to circumvent these checks by going through private sellers. Opponents of the bills said that they would add complex and expensive steps to simple gun transfers such as someone loaning a hunting rifle to a friend. They also argued that criminals would not comply with the laws.


Gun control has been an increasingly hot topic in Congress. For years, even Democrats shied away from bills that increased federal restrictions on gun ownership or sales, fearing a backlash from voters. In recent years, however, Democrats in the House have been pushing gun legislation.


These bills passed on largely party-line votes. Their future in the Senate remains uncertain.


Do you think that every gun sale or transfer should go through a licensed gun dealer who can perform a background check?

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