House Passes Bills To Expand Gun Background Checks

The House on Thursday approved a pair of bills that would expand and strengthen background checks for gun purchasers.

In votes that fell largely along party lines, the House passed legislation that would require background checks for all gun buyers and extend the time given to the FBI to vet buyers flagged by the national instant check system.

The measures face an uphill battle in the Senate, although Senate Majority Leader Schumer has vowed to bring the Senate versions of these bills to the floor for a vote after hearings are held.

The House voted 227-203 to approve the universal background check measure. The vote was 219-210 to pass a second one giving federal law enforcement more time to vet gun purchasers.

Both pieces of legislation are aimed at addressing gaps in existing gun laws.

The measure passed Thursday would require purchasers shopping for firearms online or at gun shows to have their backgrounds vetted before they could receive a weapon. They are not currently required to do so, although in-person purchasers, who make up the majority of such transactions, are.

The second bill addresses what is known as the “Charleston loophole,” which restricts to three days the time period for the FBI to conduct a background check, allowing many purchasers to evade them. The provision allowed Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine people in 2015 at a historically Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, to buy a handgun even though he should have been barred from purchasing the weapon.

The bill would extend the amount of time the FBI has to complete a check for an additional week, to 10 days.

Last month, President Joe Biden called on Congress to enact the bills in a statement commemorating the three-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting.



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