On the campaign trail last year, Joe Biden promised that one-time rival candidate Beto O’Rourke would be his go-to man on gun control.
O’Rourke hasn’t had an official role in the administration, but this week, the House launched Biden’s gun-control agenda.
It was at a rally in Dallas where Biden told O’Rourke: “You’re going to take care of the gun problem with me. You’re gonna be the one who leads this effort.”
See Biden’s promise to Beto O’Rourke:
O’Rourke previously had vowed, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” He also promised police would be dispatched to take weapons.
This week, the House approved a demand for universal background checks on every weapons purchase, including those from private sellers.
HR 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, is sponsored by Democratic Reps. Mike Thompson and Rep. Lucy McBath.
The vote was 227-203, mostly along party lines. If passed by the Senate, it will require federal background checks on any purchase.
McBath called it “an historic step.”
Republicans opposed it as a violation of the Second Amendment, which the Supreme Court has affirmed allows individuals to keep and carry weapons.
“Democrats in Washington, D.C. are trying to infringe upon your Second Amendment as we speak,” warned Florida Republican Rep. Byron Donalds. “I will always stand up for law-abiding citizens’ right to keep and bear arms because I know gun laws only impact law-abiding citizens, not criminals.”
The bill’s future, however, is in doubt in the 50-50 Senate, where Democrats would need 60 votes unless they deploy the “nuclear option,” eliminating the filibuster.
National Public Radio reported the bill would close a loophole in gun laws that allowed Dylann Roof to buy a handgun in 2015 even though he should have been barred. Roof later shot and killed nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.
The National Rifle Association charged Democrats are supporting “a transparent attempt by gun control advocates in Congress to restrict the rights of law-abiding Americans under the guise of addressing the violent criminal culture in America.”
House Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., promised a Senate votes on the bill, insisting what is no longer needed is simply “thoughts and prayers” for communities hit by gun violence.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said the proposals are based on bad information.
“It is simply not true that communities plagued by crime will be made safer by imposing new restrictions on law abiding citizens. In fact, some of the cities with the strictest laws of this type are also beset by the highest crime rates,” he said.
“Rather, radical moves to defund police, enact zero cost bail, impose lax sentences, eliminate ICE, and create ‘no arrest’ policies for certain crimes have the most dangerous consequences. If legislators want to reduce crime and make communities safer, our time would be better spent working to end each of these ill-advised measures – and prevent their destructive results.”
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