WASHINGTON (AP) The House has approved a measure requiring federal background checks for all firearms sales and transfers, the first major gun control legislation considered by Congress in nearly 25 years.
The bill was approved Wednesday, 240-190. Democrats call the vote a major step to end the gun lobby's grip on Washington and begin to address an epidemic of gun violence, including 17 people killed at a Florida high school last year.
The bill is the first of two Democrats are bringing to the House floor this week as part of an effort to tighten gun laws. The other bill would extend the FBI’s current three-day deadline to conduct a background check to as many as 20 business days. The goal is to close the so-called “Charleston Loophole” which allowed a white supremacist to buy a gun despite pending felony drug charges against him.
Both bills face dim prospects in the Republican-controlled Senate and veto threats from President Trump.
4th District Congressman Jim Himes says background checks are not a panacea, but coupled with providing better mental-health support for Americans, can go a long way. Himes says the people’s House has sent a message that they will not stand silently by as generations of Americans are menaced by guns. He added that the Senate should pass this legislation because it's not an issue of Republican versus Democrat, instead calling it an issue of life versus death.