Democrats will take aim at gun rights once they take power in the House next year, according to Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi.
” … (T)he new Democratic Majority will act boldly and decisively to ensure that no other family must endure the pain caused by gun violence,” the California Democrat said Friday, in a statement marking the sixth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
What Democrats are billing as a measure to create universal background checks will be introduced early in next year’s sessions, said California Democratic Rep. Mike Thompson, according to Politico.
“It will be strong legislation to expand background checks, and I will have a very respectful show” of co-sponsors, Thompson said. “I think you will see it happen in the first 100 days.”
Thompson said his bill requires federal background checks on every gun sale, including private deals, with some exemptions for transfers among family members.
“The American people want this. They’re way ahead of the Congress, they’re way ahead of the White House,” Thompson insisted.
Peter King, a Republican congressman from New York state, has said he will be among the Republicans supporting the Democrats’ bill.
Fellow New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat who will chair the House Judiciary Committee, said the bill will move “very quickly” to the floor for a vote.
“It’s very important to us, it’s one of our top priorities. We told the American voters that we do mean to do this, and we do mean to do it,” Nadler said, according to Politico.
Some Republicans downplay the real significance of the bill.
“Universal background checks has always been a red herring,” said North Carolina Republican Rep. Richard Hudson, according to Politico.
“It’s something that sounds very commonsense and probably polls very well, but there’s not a single commercial gun transaction in America that doesn’t have a background check,” he said.
Hudson said good intentions do not always produce good legislation.
“People who are putting this forward, I think they have good intentions,” he told Politico. “They don’t want the wrong people to have guns. But the wrong people are not going to report gun sales. So you will need a registry to know where every gun is.”
The gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety said it expects widespread support for the bill.
“The public has been demanding commonsense gun laws for years,” said Everytown President John Feinblatt, according to Politico. “The public is ready for the Congress to act. The new leadership that’s coming to the House in 2019 is listening to voters, and that’s what they should be doing.”
Although House Democrats might pass a bill, the Republican-controlled Senate and President Donald Trump stand in the way of anti-gun rights legislation becoming law.
However, House Democrats will also try to ensure that they provide money for studies to provide a research basis for gun violence legislation, said New Jersey Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., according to The Hill.
“We have tried repeatedly over the last few years” to get the federal Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence, “and every time we try to do it we were turned down by Republicans,” Pallone said, adding that the committee might require the surgeon general’s office file an annual report on the damage done by gun violence.
“We’re going to authorize the legislation we have not been able to move because of Republicans,” Pallone said. “That will make sure that kind of funding is available through the CDC.”