House passes gun bill that would implement universal background checks and extend FBI vetting time

On Thursday the House of Representatives passed legislation that would expand background checks to include all commercial gun sales. The house also passed a bill that would extend the time the F.B.I has to vet potential buyers.

The piece of legislation, called the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, passed 227 – 203 with only 8 republicans voting in favour. The bill was created by the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force following the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting and was originally introduced and passed by the House in 2019 but was never brought to the table in the then republican controlled Senate. The bill was introduced by California Rep. Mike Thompson in March who chairs the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. At a press briefing shortly before the vote, Thompson remarked that, “These two pieces of legislation will go a long way in improving gun violence.”

At the same time the House also voted on a bill  called the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 which would give the F.B.I more time to carry out checks, this was introduced by Rep Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and extends the waiting period from 3 to 10 days. It aims to close the net on the Charleston Loop which was the nickname given after shooter Dylann Roof was able to obtain a gun and carry out a massacre in a Charleston church murdering 9 people. Clyburn said that he gets a “little emotional when I think about the Charleston loophole because there’s nothing more sacred in the lives of most people than their church.” He went on to say that that Roof “should not have had the gun and the reason he had the gun is because when he went to purchase it and the three days expired…. this law would have prevented {Roof} from getting a gun.”

Following the passage of the bill President Biden mentioned his history on gun reform and signalled his support in a tweet, saying, “I helped to pass the Brady background check bill as a Senator – and I’m committed to continuing that work and passing common – sense gun safety reforms as President’.’ The legislation has faced harsh criticism from Republicans. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) noted what seemed to be hypocrisy from the democrats when he asked the question “ Is it fair to surround yourself with armed guards, with Capitol Police who have guns, with personal details, bodyguards and ask people to pay for it while you make it harder for those same people to protect themselves ?” Both pieces of legislation face an embattled future as they head to the equally divided Senate where 10 republicans will need to vote in favour to overcome the legislative filibuster.  




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