By Molly Prince
A host of Republican congressional members gathered outside the Capitol Building on Tuesday to express opposition to a pair of anti-gun pieces of legislation that House Democrats are poised to bring to the floor for a vote.
“They’re bills that [Democrats are] putting on the floor under the guise of saying that they’re going to address issues related to gun violence — neither one of these bills would have done anything to stop some of the tragedies that we have seen,” Republican Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney told a crowd, referring to the Bipartisan Background Checks Act (HR 8) and the Enhanced Background Checks Act (HR 1112).
The House is expected to vote on HR 8 and HR 1112 by Friday, which would require a background check for nearly every firearm purchase and a 10-day waiting period for firearm sales, respectively. While neither bill specifically calls for a national gun registry, GOP lawmakers argue neither could be enforced without a federal database in place.
“HR 8 is taking the fears and concerns of a nation over gun violence and perpetrating a fraud over them,” said Republican Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee. “[Democrats are] preying upon the very victims that they’re wanting to supposedly help by putting a bill out there that will not help them, by constantly bringing up the mass violence instances such as at schools and theaters and others — they’re saying this will help.”
“The problem with this bill, and they [Democrats] just exposed it to themselves, is the Obama administration’s Department of Justice said if you’re going to at least try universal background checks, you have to have a registry,” Collins continued.
Republican Tennessee Rep. Phil Roe, an Army veteran, said HR 1112’s language is “ambiguous” and “vague” and would result in Second Amendment rights being stripped away from both civilians and veterans without due process.
“These bills turn law-abiding citizens into criminals and it is one more step towards federalized gun registration and ultimately gun confiscation,” Minority Whip Steve Scalise said. “That’s been the intention of many [Democrats] for a long time — they want true gun control and this is the first step — it’s surely not the last.”
Scalise was notably the subject of an assassination attempt after a left-wing activist opened fire while Republicans were practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game in 2017. He was shot in the hip and gravely injured during the attack.
Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz further criticized Democrats for trying to impose anti-gun legislation that “fails to protect vulnerable people” while simultaneously voting against GOP-sponsored, “common sense” measures like notifying Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when an illegal immigrant fails a background check.
“This isn’t really about public safety,” Gaetz said. “It’s about blood lust that Democrats have to take away guns from law-abiding citizens.”
While the legislation is likely to pass the House, the White House suggested President Donald Trump may wield his veto if the bills reach his desk.
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