House Finally Votes To TAKE YR GUNS. (If You Are A Criminal, YAY!)
For the first time in forever -- and following massacre after massacre after massacre after massacre -- a gun control bill has passed in Congress. The House yesterday passed HB 8, which would finally require background checks for virtually all gun purchases. The bill even attracted eight votes from Republicans, and was co-sponsored by California Democrat Mike Thompson and Republican Pete King from New York. It was passed by the House after former congresswoman Gabby Giffords helped introduce it in January, eight years to the day after the Tucson mass shooting that left her permanently injured.
"Today's historic gun safety victory in Congress is a testament to courage," Giffords said in a statement after the passage of the bill. "When the days were darkest, when it looked like the gun lobby's money and influence would forever silence any debate in Washington about stronger gun laws, courage shone through."
The bill's passage was also noted by Rep. Ted Deutch, whose Florida district includes Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Deutch called the vote "a really incredible moment to be on the House floor as we passed the first piece of gun legislation in decades."
HB 8 would close a loophole in the current background check system: While all purchases made through federally licensed gun dealers require a background check, sales of guns between private parties, including many of those at gun shows, don't need one. That means roughly a fifth of total gun sales involve no background check at all.
The bill does include some exemptions, like allowing gifts from family members, so that should at least preempt the outraged whining from people complaining that Grandpa can't give celebrate little Walter's 21st birthday by passing on his cherished Webley-Vickers 50.80 revolver from the War, or loaning a gun to someone while hunting or for self-defense, as one so often must do in Our Polite Society.
King, the Republican co-sponsor,
urged his Senate colleagues to sign on to the bill, seeing as how it has the support of a huge majority of Americans, and even of Republicans.
"I would think that they should let it come to a vote," he said[...]
"This is not going to affect more than probably less than 1% of the American people and the ones it will affect either suffer from mental illness or are criminals. So to me, it's a phony issue being raised by some of the gun groups," he said.
Not surprisingly, the Senate is already making plans to completely ignore the bill, because Republicans remain a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Rifle Association. Majority Whip John Thune told CNN there was no need to expand background checks, because the Senate already passed a bill involving very tiny tweaks to what states have to report to the background check system, as CNN explains:
In the simplest terms, the bill didn't strengthen background checks but instead incentivized state and federal authorities to report more data to the database. "I think that we've dealt with that issue here," he said of last year's efforts.
See? PROBLEM SOLVED -- except for a fifth of all gun sales, and who cares about that?
And yes, even people who should know better voted against it, because what part of "owned by the NRA" didn't you hear the first time? Steve Scalise, who was critically injured during the 2017 congressional baseball practice shooting, insisted expanding background checks would accomplish nothing at all, because "HR 8 would not have prevented my shooting," and obviously that's the only kind of shooting there has ever been, so let's not bother. As the New York Times points out, we're not sure we agree 100 percent with his police work there:
Last year, the existing background check system identified and denied 88,000 gun sales to prohibited buyers including criminals and domestic abusers, according to Mr. Thompson's office — but those same people are currently able to make purchases at gun shows or online.
Then again, since you can't fix everything with a single law, it's best to do nothing at all.
The House will also vote today on a second background check bill, the "Enhanced Background Checks Act," which would extend the time allowed for federal background checks from three to 10 days and close the loophole that allowed the gunman in the 2015 Charleston church massacre to get his gun even though he had admitted to drug possession. A full backgrounder would have stopped the purchase, but since the FBI didn't complete its check within three days, the dealer was allowed to sell him the gun. Then again, it wouldn't have protected Steve Scalise, so again, it's probably a bad bill.
Sure, these bills probably won't even get a vote in the Senate, but it's a hopeful preview of what Democrats could accomplish if they take the Senate and the presidency in 2020. Let's not have any whining about this being a "purely symbolic" vote, or comparing it to all those Republican votes to "repeal" Obamacare when they knew Barack Obama would veto it. Unlike those rightwing wet dreams, this is a real bill that can pass both houses and be signed into law come 2021. And getting the Rs on record opposing it will let voters know exactly who has "property of the NRA" permanently tattooed on their bottoms.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.