The House of Representatives voted 240-190 on Wednesday in favor of passing legislation that would require a background check for firearm purchases, marking the most extensive bill on gun control since 1994.
The background check bill, introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) as HR 8, has received overwhelming support from House Democrats, as well as some House Republicans. It
will mark the first time the House has cleared major legislation since August 1994, when it approved a ban on assault weapons as part of a comprehensive crime bill.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweeted in support of the bill, “The last time Congress passed meaningful legislation to prevent gun violence was 1994, when I was still in college. That changes today.”
The last time Congress passed meaningful legislation to prevent gun violence was 1994, when I was still in college. That changes today. https://t.co/GtuAGv2JX5
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 27, 2019
On the House floor, Representatives voted easily to pass the bill. However, it faces a steeper path in a Senate with a Republican majority, as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced an intention to go their “own way” regarding a solution to gun violence.
Many Democrats have contrasted gun control with President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration, claiming that the effects of gun violence are the real emergency.
During debate on HR 8, Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) gave emotional remarks regarding gun violence in her own state, saying, “The real emergency that he should be focusing on is the devastating gun violence epidemic that has torn communities apart across our country, including my own where we are still mourning the loss of 12 precious lives at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California.”
Some House Republicans have spoken in support of the bill as well, including Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) who stated in an interview with NBC, “To give them credit, Democrats have long supported it, and I think just this series of massacres is building up and the fact that the average American, even people who have guns, or support guns, they see this as being a reasonable measure.”
King continued by claiming that this is a “no brainer to the average person on the streets, it’s only in Congress that it becomes a major issue,” and “all these scare tactics about a gun registry and the government’s going to take away your guns — it just isn’t true.”
In addition to HR 8, a complimentary gun violence bill HR 1112 is scheduled for a House vote on Thursday.