House Passes 2 Bills to Tighten Nation's Gun Laws, Including Expanding Background Checks: Report

Steps outside of The House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.
Getty Stock Images

The bill will also close the "Charleston Loophole," according to reports.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills Thursday that would tighten the nation’s gun laws, including a bill that would require background checks on all gun sales and transfers, NPR reported.

H.R. 8 bill, titled the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, would expand background checks on individuals who want to purchase or transfer a firearm, including for private individuals and groups. 

The Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 would close the "Charleston loophole," a gap in federal law that lets gun sales proceed without a completed background check if three businesses days have passed, USA Today reported.

The bill passed 227-203; eight Republicans voted in favor of it and one Democrat voted against it. In 2019, the bill was passed with eight votes from Republicans, five of whom cosponsored the package, according to the news outlet. 

Rep. Mike Thompson, a Democrat from California, who resumed his efforts to prevent gun violence that started after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, sponsored H.R. 8, the Press Democrat reported. He wrote on Twitter that it is a “critical stop toward preventing gun violence and saving lives.” 

The second bill, H.R. 1446, passed Thursday by a 219-210 vote. Two Democrats opposed the bill and two Republicans supported the bill, which was prompted by a 2015 shooting that took place in Charleston, South Carolina, when a white supremacist was able to obtain firearms and used those weapons to kill nine Black people during a Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church. 

This bill would extend the initial background check review period from three to 10 days.

"Gun violence is a public health crisis," the White House said in a statement, who endorsed the bill that was written by House Majority Whip James Clayburn.

”The federal gun background check system is a proven tool to reduce gun violence and save lives. This system ... has kept millions of guns out of potentially dangerous hands," the statement said.

Clayburn, who wrote the bill, said it was “an important step Congress must take to address the epidemic of gun violence in this country.”