What a difference a midterm election makes. Now that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is in charge, she is addressing the the issues that people care about. Her House had already passed the first gun bill in nearly a decade, so her next bill was a big surprise.
Another new gun bill just passed. It deals with the length of background checks. Most background checks are done in just three days. The way the current law was written, should the dealer hear no response, the sale could move forward.
The new bill would change that substantially. It lengthens the waiting period to 10 days. Then, the customers can ask for an escalated review, but they must certify that there is not legal reason keeping them from owning a gun, such as being on parole. At that point, the sale can complete.
In addition, the bill would extend background checks to guns purchased at gun shows. These have been an easy buy for agitated people who commit domestic violence.
The bill passed 228 to 198 primarily along party lines on the 25th anniversary of federal background checks going into effect. Prior to then, it was easy for both the mentally ill and those with a criminal record to buy a gun. A Gallup poll showed 92 percent favorite gun regulation versus seven percent who did not.
Those who support this new bill indicate that it would handle the “Charleston Loophole,” according to The USA Today newspaper. A man had a record, which rendered him ineligible for gun purchases, and due to FBI database errors, the background check continued beyond the three-day limit. That meant the man was free to buy the gun that killed nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church located in Charleston, South Carolina.
Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) probably will not allow the bill onto the Senate floor, and Donald Trump said he would veto any gun bill that reaches his desk. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has actively supported many Republicans, and the president received $30 million from the group.
However, the NRA’s membership is down significantly. The Parkland High School mass shooting and the Russian spy who infiltrated the top echelon of the NRA have had an impact.
Pelosi commented just prior to the vote saying that people do want their elected representatives to do something about the flood of mass shootings:
‘I think the public is tired of moments of silence in times of mass murders and high-profile tragedies.’
Representative Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), a survivor of domestic violence, wanted to amend this bill to keep the original three-day limit for domestic violence victims trying to purchase a weapon to protect themselves:
‘Do we really want to tell victims of domestic violence they have to wait up to 20 business days, before they are allowed to adequately defend themselves?
Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) widow of Representative John Dinged spoke about her abusive father and her terror as a child. She opposed Lesko’s amendment with “every bit of my heart and soul.” She said her father had a gun, so her mother bought a gun for protection. As a result:
‘…we had two guns to worry about. All of us were scared to death.’
Still, Republicans claimed that a longer wait would not keep people safer. Representative Doug Collins (R-GA) disagreed:
‘But it will make it harder for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights to defend themselves and their families.’
Representative Jim Cleburne (D-SC) said:
‘Let’s give the authorities enough time to do their jobs.’
Still, the senator from South Carolina Tom Rice (R) disagreed. He claimed that the bill’s success would mean that it would take too long for a person to buy a gun. The senator suggested that people can find other ways of stopping the 2015 incident.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.