House Democrats are planning soon after they take power in January to move a bill to require federal background checks on all firearm sales, part of a broader attempt to advance long-stalled gun control measures, Politico reported on Monday.
Although the proposal won't pass in the Republican-controlled Senate, getting through the House will be a step forward and a victory for the gun-control movement.
The plan has the backing of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said “The new Democratic majority will act boldly and decisively to pass commonsense, life-saving background checks.”
California Rep. Mike Thompson, head of a Democratic gun violence prevention task force and who plans to introduce the bill, stressed the political landscape has shifted dramatically on the issue.
“The American people want this,” he said. “They're way ahead of the Congress, they're way ahead of the White House."
Even if not passed into law, the legislation may serve as a messaging bill to demonstrate to the public that they heard those who have marched for action and show they won't be afraid to talk about gun control ahead of the 2020 elections.
“It’s very important to us, it’s one of our top priorities,” said New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the issue.
GOP North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson, a key National Rifle Association ally in the House, said universal background checks is "something that... polls very well, but there's not a single commercial gun transaction in America that doesn't have a background check."
He added that "the wrong people are not going to report gun sales. So you will need a registry to know where every gun is," which is staunchly opposed by the NRA.
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