On July 10, the U.S. House approved legislation requiring a background check for every gun sold in the United States.
It was the first major gun control measure to win approval in the House in a quarter century.
The measure, H.R. 8, has been a goal of supporters since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 children and six adults were killed. On hand for the vote was former U.S. representative Gabrielle Giffords, severely wounded in the 2011 Tucson mass shooting that left six people dead, including a 9-year-old.
Eight Republicans joined 232 Democrats to approve the measure 240 to 190.
One piece of opposition to the measure arrived in a traditionally effective form—a lie. A claim was circulated online that HR 8 would have established a national gun registry. For instance, the website of Gun Owners of America listed “Creating a federal registry of ALL U.S. Gun Owners” as one feature of the bill. Wyoming Gun Owners used the headline, “Congress to Take Up National Gun Registry Legislation Wednesday!”
In fact, section 5 of the measure reads, “RULE OF CONSTRUCTION. Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to—(1) authorize the establishment, directly or indirectly, of a national firearms registry; or (2) interfere with the authority of a State, under section 927 of title 18, United States Code, to enact a law on the same subject matter as this Act.”
One amendment that would have allowed people in the airline pre-check program to skip background checks failed. U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, who represents the northern U.S. House district of Nevada, voted for it. That amendment was sponsored by Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona, who was trying to water down the bill, which she opposes.
Amodei voted against another amendment sponsored by Oklahoma Rep. Kendra Horn. Her language made an exception for people seeking a temporary transfer of a firearm if they face domestic violence and an imminent threat of bodily harm.
And Amodei voted to send the bill back to committee, which is often a maneuver used to kill legislation.
On the final vote, Amodei voted against passage of the bill.
Rep. Horn said, “There is no reason vendors at gun shows or online should be exempt from the safety measures other [gun] merchants must obey.”