The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed significant gun control legislation for the first time in more than two decades, a move that Democrats hope will intensify a pressure campaign for a vote in the Senate.
The universal background check bill, H.R. 8, requires background checks on all firearm sales in the country. Currently, only licensed gun dealers must perform background checks for anyone seeking to purchase a firearm. Most unlicensed sellers do not; H.R. 8 would make that illegal. There are exemptions to the law like “gifts to family members and transfers for hunting, target shooting, and self-defense,” according to the House Judiciary Committee website.
The measure passed 240-190. Eight Republicans voted for the bill, and two Democrats, Jared Golden of Maine and Collin Peterson of Minnesota, voted against it.
The bill will move to the Senate, where it is unlikely to pass in the Republican-majority chamber as legislation often needs 60 or more votes to advance.
The bill, sponsored by a bipartisan duo of Reps. Mike Thompson, a California Democrat, and Peter King, a New York Republican, remains an outlier right now in the House since it has bipartisan support. Most of the legislation related to gun control has been sponsored by Democrats.
Four other Republicans co-sponsored the bill: Brian Mast of Florida, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Chr