House passes measure on gun control


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

The Democratic-controlled House on Wednesday approved a measure requiring federal background checks for all firearms sales and transfers, the first major gun-control legislation considered by Congress in nearly 25 years.

Democrats called the 240-190 vote a major step to end the gun lobby’s grip on Washington and begin to address an epidemic of gun violence, including 17 people who were killed at a Florida high school last year.

The bill is the first of two that Democrats are bringing to the House floor this week as part of an effort to tighten gun laws after eight years of Republican control. The other bill would extend the review period for background checks from three to 10 days.

Both bills face dim prospects in the Republican-controlled Senate and veto threats from President Donald Trump, who said they would impose unreasonable requirements on gun owners.

The White House said in a veto message that the background-checks bill could block someone from borrowing a firearm for self-defense or allowing a neighbor to take care of a gun while traveling.

Democrats called those arguments misleading and said gun owners have a responsibility to ensure firearms are properly handled. The bill includes exceptions allowing temporary transfers to prevent imminent harm or for use at a target range.

The long-delayed bill would merely close loopholes to ensure that background checks are extended to private and online sales that often go undetected, Democrats said.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., who was gravely wounded in a 2017 shooting at a congressional baseball practice, said stricter background checks would not have prevented his shooting or other tragedies.

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