House Dems all in for universal background checks on firearms – until GOP includes illegal immigrants

Democrats were all in when they decided to push through universal background checks on all firearms purchases, but they quickly recoiled when Republicans amended the legislation.

As House Democrats were poised to vote on “The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019,” their Republican colleagues asked to add an amendment that would use the same law to alert federal authorities when an illegal immigrant tries to purchase a firearm illegally as well.



Rep. Doug Collins explained the amendment on the House floor Wednesday.

“The motion to recommit will notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, commonly known as ICE, when an illegal alien who is prohibited from possessing a firearm attempts to purchase a firearm by going through the process of application,” the Georgia Republican said.

The legislation, H.R. 8, was being pushed by Democrats as a way to expand universal background checks, requiring private transactions like purchases at gun shows and those made online to be subject to the same check. The White House already indicated this week that President Trump would veto the bill.

House Democrats objected to the GOP amendment that would notify federal authorities “when an individual attempting to purchase a firearm fails a federal background check.”

They tried to kill the amendment in committee and the main bill passed with a vote of 240 to 190. But Republicans made a second attempt, using a “motion to recommit” to force the Democrats’ hand in considering their amended wording. With 26 Democrats crossing party lines, that motion passed with a vote of 220 to 209.

“Clearly, the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee don’t care about preventing gun violence, they simply are playing politics with Americans’ Second Amendment rights,” Rep. Greg Steube had said in a press release earlier this month.

“The fact that Democrats do not want law enforcement notified if an individual attempting to purchase a firearm fails a background check is truly troubling,” the Florida Republican said.

According to The Hill:

Pelosi approached Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) with the suggestion that the loss of 26 Democrats on what is typically an easy party-line vote was his responsibility. The confrontation, which took place before a group of members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), angered members of the group, of which Clyburn is a long-standing part.

Democrats made a point of introducing the legislation only a few days into their new majority last month. Wednesday’s vote was supposed to show how far Democrats had come since they commandeered the House floor from the GOP in 2016 with a daylong sit-in to protest inaction after the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.


Instead, Republicans managed to pull the “motion” in their favor, an embarrassing setback for the House Democrats.

“We won a big victory!” an angry Pelosi told reporters asking about the procedural hiccup instead of focusing on the bill. “I don’t know why you’re dwelling — what you have to dwell on is a historic victory.”

The legislation will move forward to the Republican-controlled Senate for approval before reaching the president, who is expected to veto.

“The extensive regulation required by H.R. 8 is incompatible with the Second Amendment’s guarantee of an individual right to keep arms,” the White House said in a statement Monday.

“By overly extending the minimum time that a licensed entity is required to wait for background check results, H.R. 1112 would unduly impose burdensome delays on individuals seeking to purchase a firearm,” the White House continued in the statement, adding that if the bills “are presented to the President, his advisors would recommend he veto the bill.”


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