It was the first time in 25 years the House has voted on gun safety.
The overwhelming majority of the votes against the landmark gun safety bill, all but two, came from Republicans.
The bill, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, is the first major gun safety legislation to come up for a vote on the House floor in more than a quarter of a century. The last time the House voted on a gun safety bill was for the 1994 assault weapons ban.
The bill will require a background check for all purchases of firearms — an idea that Americans overwhelmingly support. One 2018 poll shows 97 percent of the public supports the idea of universal background checks — including 97 percent of gun owners, 97 percent of Republicans, and 99 percent of Democrats.
Under current law, background checks are only required if a gun is purchased from a licensed gun dealer. The legislation is necessary to close loopholes for online purchases and at gun shows.
"It's a real moment for the nation," Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA) said before the vote. "We're at a critical mass now where families are just saying they’ve had enough."
Tragically, McBath speaks from experience. She lost her son, Jordan Davis, to gun violence six years ago. She became an advocate for gun safety, which eventually led her to run for Congress and oust an NRA-backed Republican incumbent.
Even after horrific massacres in Newtown, Charleston, Las Vegas, and Parkland, as well as more than 1,900 mass shootings in the last six years, Republicans steadfastly refused to even hold hearings on the issue of gun violence.
In the 2018 midterms, voters across the country ousted NRA-backed Republicans from office and replaced them with Democrats who vowed to pass bills to help stem the epidemic of gun deaths.
The new Democratic majority is keeping that promise by passing this universal background check bill.
"This life-saving and bipartisan legislation passed because the determined leaders in the House listened to local organizers from Oklahoma to Colorado to Virginia who finally proved to lawmakers that voters care about gun safety," Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said in statement shortly after the bill passed.
While the new Democratic majority is determined to fight for the safety of all communities, Trump has threatened to veto the bill if it makes it to his desk — showing once again that he would rather cower before the NRA than listen to the will of Americans.
Democrats overwhelming voted in line with the will of the majority of Americans. But 188 Republicans turned their backs on making America a little bit safer.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.