The Bipartisan Background Checks Act (HR 8) that passed in the House yesterday is the mildest, most milqtoasty gun legislation ever-- meant by author, Blue Dog Mike Thompson, to woo Republicans. It changes virtually nothing of substance; all it does is utilize the current background checks process to ensure anyone already prohibited from possessing a gun is unable to obtain one through loopholes. It passed 227-203 but only 8 Republicans came on board, while anti-Democrat, Maine Blue Dog Jared Golden voted against it.
Republicans voting for the bill included 3 co-sponsors, Fred Upton (R-MI), Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) plus Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) and 3 Floridians, were Parkland is still alive in many voters' minds: Vern Buchanan, Carlos Gimenez and Maria Salazar. In his explanation for backing the bill, Kinzinger wrote that he firmly believes in the right to keep and bear arms, legally and that he's "also a strong advocate for conceal carry, and have permits myself to do so. But we have a violence problem in this country and it cannot be ignored. Following the shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas in August 2019, I said publicly that should the H.R. 8 legislation come before the House again, I would vote in its favor. And today, I did just that." His statement went on:
It’s important to address some of the misinformation about this bill. The language stipulates that it will not, in fact, authorize the creation of a national firearms registry. The requirement for transfers of firearms through a licensed dealer does not apply to law enforcement agencies and officers on duty, to family loaning or gifting to members of their family, if loaned for use at a shooting range or hunting, or in the case of an imminent threat (including domestic violence). I say this because I know my vote today will undoubtedly cause some anguish.
But 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.
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.
The second bill-- also passed today-- was Jim Clyburn's Enhanced Background Checks Act (HR 1446) and that is somewhat more useful... meaning few Republicans voted for it. Also Golden was joined by another cowardly panderer, Ron Kind (New Dem-WI) is opposition. The bill passed 219-210. Only Fitzpatrick and Smith, both from suburban swing districts voted with the Democrats. This bill would extend the maximum review period from 3 days to 10 days for a background check. Both bills will be killed by an automatic Republican filibuster in the Senate.
Conservative West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin backs these bills-- but we'll soon see if he likes the filibuster even more and will not give up on his decision to allow the minority party to veto anything and everything they feel like vetoing. This morning, Roll Call reported that Schumer is scheduling a floor vote that will force Republicans "to choose between their party’s traditional gun rights positions and a policy that is broadly popular with the public... 'HR 8 will be on the floor of the Senate and we will see where everybody stands... No more hopes and prayers, thoughts and prayers-- a vote is what we need.'... At least 10 Republicans would need to join Democrats to overcome" an NRA/GOP filibuster. Keep in mind that around 90% of the public supports universal background checks.