The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed two arms control laws in a Democratic move to take advantage of the changing political landscape that is improving the chances of discussing new legislation after years of failed attempts. The party holds the majority in both houses of Congress.
The first measure, which garnered 227 votes in favor – including 8 Republicans – and 203 against, bridges a long-standing gap by expanding background checks for those who buy guns on the internet, at industry fairs and through certain private transactions.
The other law, approved by 219 MPs, including only 2 Republicans, and rejected by 210 others, extends the FBI’s timeframe for background checks to ten business days before a sale is authorized. The transaction is currently approved if the government does not complete the check within three days.
US President Joe Biden supports expanding arms sales controls. The bill, however, could face a tougher battle in the Senate, where the majority is even smaller than in the House.
There are 48 Democrats and 2 who vote with 100 seats in the House, and the tie is made by Vice President Kamala Harris, who grants a slight advantage. However, the obstruction rule means that most laws require 60 votes instead of a simple majority. In this way, Republicans can use the maneuver to try to block arms control measures.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said if this happens Democrats will “come together as a political convention and we’ll see how we do it,” indicating a possible shutdown or rule change. obstruction.
A 2013 bipartisan arms control bill – proposed after a mass shootout at a Connecticut elementary school the year before – was defeated by a Senate vote of 54-46, less than the required 60 votes.
Gun control is an issue that divides the United States, which retains the right to guns in its constitution. Most Republicans oppose the restrictions, while most Democrats say six more are needed to contain gun violence. The United States was the scene of some massacres, like that of Columbine, and the shootings tripled between 2010 and 2019, compared to the previous period.
In a press conference ahead of the vote, Democratic MK Lucy McBath, who lost her son to gun violence, said in a choked voice: “No one deserves the kind of pain and anguish that people are suffering “.
House Judiciary Committee member Republican Jim Jordan wrote on Twitter that House Democrats “were trying to make it harder for law-abiding citizens to buy guns.”
Republicans who oppose the laws argue that the rules would not make American streets safer and violate the right to arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
Many Democrats, however, want to go even further, banning the sale of high-capacity, military-grade rifles, which they don’t want to do.
Member of the party that has led a movement for greater gun control for years, Mike Thompson says 30 people are killed every day in the United States as a result of gun violence, a figure that rises to 100 in the event of gun violence. suicides and accidental deaths with firearms. are counted.
At the same time, the congressman says, 170 criminals and 50 domestic attackers are barred from buying a gun every day. “It only makes sense if, during the expansion [a legislação], more criminals, more domestic aggressors are prevented. “
With Democrats now in charge of the White House and Congress, they pursue frustrated goals when Republicans run the House or Senate. The party says its position was further strengthened after unrest within the National Rifle Association (NRA), an influential arms lobby closely aligned with Republicans.