H.R. 8, the “Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2019,” passed by a vote of 240 to 190 in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon. The vote was largely along partisan lines with only eight Republicans joining Democrats and two Democrats joining Republicans.
Sponsored by Congressman Mike Thompson (D-California), the bill, if passed, essentially eliminates private sales or transfers of firearms unless going through a “licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer” first to conduct a federal background check.
The bill does not apply to law enforcement or security personnel in the scope of their duties. Also, family members loaning or gifting firearms to each other are exempt. Also exempted are temporary transfers of a firearm if a threat to a person’s safety is imminent, as well as, for use on a firing range or while hunting.
In the instance of a temporary transfer, the National Rifle Association warns of traps for gun owners.
(H.R. 8) would make it a crime, subject to certain exceptions, to simply hand a firearm to another person. Any time gun owners carry out this simple act, they would potentially be exposing themselves to criminal penalties. While the bills do create some exceptions, they are overly complicated and create many traps for unwary gun owners. Accidental violations of these complicated provisions are not excused under the proposed legislation.
This legislation is not about public safety. These bills attack law-abiding gun owners by placing further burdens on gun ownership and use. For the anti-gun groups and politicians intent on criminalizing the private transfer of firearms, this legislation is just another step in their effort to extinguish America’s vibrant and legitimate gun culture.
Iowa’s members of the House voted along partisan lines with Congresswomen Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa), and Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) voting in favor of the measure.
Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) voted no and said he would call for President Donald Trump to veto the bill if it should pass the Senate.
“I oppose Speaker Pelosi’s attempt to infringe on the God-given, 2nd Amendment Right to Bear Arms contained within our Constitution. H.R. 8 is a legislative assault on our Constitution that reveals two fundamental truths about Pelosi’s Democrats: they will stop at nothing to take our guns away, and they are complete hypocrites when they talk about the importance of Constitutional governance,” King said in a released statement.
“Yesterday, Pelosi’s Democrats sought to block President Trump’s efforts to build a wall by invoking fraudulent Constitutional claims against the President’s National Emergency declaration. Today, in order to advance their unconstitutional gun control policies, these same liberal Democrats are completely ignoring the well-established Constitutional protections that Americans enjoy under the 2nd Amendment. If H.R. 8 ever gets to President Trump’s desk, I will certainly encourage him to veto it,” he added.
Some Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls praised the passage of the bill on Twitter.
The companion bill in the U.S. Senate is S. 42 sponsored by U.S. Senator Christopher Murphy.