Emboldened by their majorities in the House and Senate, Democrats are making a new push to enact the first major new gun control laws in more than two decades—starting with stricter background checks, per the AP. The House passed two bills Thursday to require background checks on all firearms sales and transfers and to allow an expanded 10-day review for gun purchases. Similar bills were passed by the House in 2019, shortly after Democrats won the majority, but languished in the GOP-controlled Senate for the next two years. Democrats now hold the Senate, as well, giving the party hope as the legislation will at least be considered. But passage is no sure thing. It is unclear whether Senate Democrats could find deep enough support among Republicans to pass new gun control legislation in a 50-50 Senate, as they would need 60 votes to do so.
Still, the bills are part of an effort by Democrats to move on several major legislative priorities while they hold both chambers of Congress and the White House. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that the Republican “legislative graveyard is over” and that the bill to require background checks on all firearms sales will have a vote in the Senate. While the House bills have Republican cosponsors and won a handful of GOP votes, most Republicans voted against them. During the floor debate, Republicans argued that the background checks would not stop most mass shootings and would mistakenly prevent some lawful gun owners from purchasing firearms. Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry said the bill would lead to more crime because there would be “less people out there defending themselves.”
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