Sweeping gun control bill passes House, but threatens undocumented migrants
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the most notable gun reform bill to broaden federal background checks in years.
The bill, called the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, passed the Democrat-controlled House with a 240-190 vote. The bill would require background checks on all gun sale. Under current law, only licensed gun dealers can do background checks. The bill would criminalize all dealers who refuse to perform background checks for firearm sales. Exceptions include “gifts to family members and transfers for hunting, target shooting, and self-defense.”
On Thursday, another gun reform bill is predicted to be reviewed and passed to extend the waiting period of a gun sale until a federal background is completed.
While the Bipartisan Background Checks Act passed with considerable bipartisan support in the House, the National Rifle Association disapproves of it and it will likely not pass a Republican-controlled Senate. According to the National Public Radio (NPR), the White House indicated President Trump would veto the legislation if it did.
John Feinblatt, president of the anti-gun violence group Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement, “We applaud Speaker Pelosi and the bipartisan coalition of House members who supported this bill for stepping up and doing their part to close the giant — and deadly — loopholes in America’s background checks law.”
However, Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement, “Criminals, on the other hand, will continue to get their firearms the way they always have – through the black market, theft, and straw purchases. Forcing more government paperwork and additional fees on good people trying to exercise a constitutional right will do nothing to make Americans safer.”
While Democrats are cheering for the passage of this bill, they passed it with an added a GOP amendment stating that ICE will be notified when undocumented migrants attempt to buy a gun. This is an example of how the use of expansive federal background checks is weaponized against marginalized groups, instead of white mass shooters.