‘[This bill] will do absolutely nothing to prevent gun violence in Florida or around the country…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation that would require universal background checks for all gun purchases on Wednesday.
But Democrats rejected an amendment that would have required federal authorities to be notified if a person fails a federal background check or if an illegal immigrant attempts to purchase a firearm.
The Steube Amendment, introduced by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., reiterated requirements Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. once supported in the Unlawful Gun Buyer Alert Act.
Steube’s amendment would have allowed law enforcement to be more proactive in its search for potential firearm-wielding criminals.
Ironically, both Cicilline and Nadler voted against Steube’s amendment on Wednesday.
The rejection of his amendment proves Democrats aren’t interested in the safety of Americans, Steube said, just in pushing broad gun control legislation to score political points.
“Clearly, the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee don’t care about preventing gun violence, they simply are playing politics with Americans’ Second Amendment rights,” Steube said in a statement after Democrats voted against the amendment. “The fact that Democrats do not want law enforcement notified if an individual attempting to purchase a firearm fails a background check is truly troubling.”
The bill, sponsored by Reps. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and Peter King, R-N.Y., would expand the background check system to cover sales by unlicensed gun sellers, including sales at gun shows or online.
Current law only requires license firearm dealers to submit background checks to the government before handing a firearm over to the person purchasing it.
The committee voted on The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 one day before the one-year anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman High School massacre in Parkland, Florida.
Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., who represents Parkland, said the bill is an important step toward preventing future mass shootings.
“It happened,” Deutch said of the Parkland shooting, which left dozens of students and faculty members dead. “Now, our responsibility is to do everything we can to make sure it never happens again.”
But opponents of the bill, including Steube, said enhanced gun control won’t deter future mass shootings and would not have stopped the Parkland shooter.
“The shooter in Parkland passed a background check before purchasing a firearm, the shooter at Pulse Nightclub passed a background check before purchasing a firearm, and the shooter just weeks ago that murdered five women in District 17 passed a background check before purchasing the hand gun he used in the commission of that heinous crime,” Steube’s office said in a press release. “[This bill] will do absolutely nothing to prevent gun violence in Florida or around the country. Instead, it will only restrict the rights of the millions of law abiding citizens that legally carry a firearm every day.”
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, agreed and said the bill is a “missed opportunity” to achieve real change.
“It’s disturbing that in a clamor to do something to combat mass violence, [Democrats] managed to craft a bill that does exactly nothing,” Collins said.
Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., who also sits on the Judiciary Committee, said she voted against the bill because its vagueness and broad language will allow the federal government to “criminalize common transfers of firearms while doing nothing to prevent gun violence.”
“This legislation is poorly drafted and ill-considered,” she said in a statement. “It simply punishes lawful gun owners without addressing the realities behind gun violence.”