A day after voting for a plan to extend background checks to private gun sales in person and on the internet, the House approved a separate measure to give law enforcement agencies more time to review background check applications, extending the current limit of three business days to a maximum of twenty days.
"The Charleston loophole is something that all members of Congress should have the courage to change," said Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), referring to the name given to the three day background check review limit in current law, which allowed gunman Dylann Roof to buy a firearm before authorities discovered red flags on his record that would have prevented the purchase.
Roof later shot and killed nine people in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
"FBI analysis of the current background check system shows that 3 business days isn't enough time to decide if someone shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun," said Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), who represents Charleston.
"This is an overdue, bipartisan commonsense gun violence measure, and it will save lives," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).
The vote in the House was 228 to 198, as three Republicans voted for the measure, while seven Democrats broke ranks and voted against the plan.
"The shooter at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was able to acquire his gun before the FBI completed their background check," said Rep. Mark Veasey (D-TX).
Republicans said the plan might sound good, but like the expanded background checks measure passed on Wednesday by the House, GOP lawmakers argued it would do little to stop actual gun violence.
"Here we go again," said an exasperated Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) on the House floor.
"It will do nothing to make our communities safer, but it will make it harder for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights," Collins added.
The Wednesday vote on the expanded background checks was 240-190, as 8 Republicans voted for the plan, with two Democrats against.
"This extreme overreaching legislation will do nothing to make law abiding Americans safer," said Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX).
“These bills are bipartisan,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as the House voted for the first time on major gun control legislation since 1994, when the Congress approved the Brady handgun law, and a ban on certain assault weapons.
For now, neither bill seems to have a chance to gain 60 votes in the U.S. Senate.
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