In what is surely a sign that the National Rifle Association’s iron hold on American gun policy is not what it once was, one of the “prioritized” acts of the Democratic House will be a new law closing what is colloquially known as the gun show loophole. It will require a background check for, according to Mother Jones’ sources, every gun sale.
[Rep. Mike Thompson] now plans to introduce a bill that will go further than any of those earlier proposals: It will require a background check for every gun sale or transfer, regardless of who’s doing the selling or transferring. The move has been in the works since before the election, when Thompson met with outside gun reform allies like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, the Center for American Progress, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Giffords to talk about what they might push for if Democrats won the House.
This would close the loopholes that can allow unfit applicants, such as those with a history of criminal violence, to bypass background checks by purchasing guns over the internet or at one of America’s great many gun shows. If you sell a gun to an individual over the internet, you would now be required to perform the required check. But this law is even stricter than past versions by, according to Mother Jones, closing the private loophole as well: If you sell a gun to a cousin or friend, you would be required to do the same.
Such a bill would be extremely unlikely to pass the Mitch McConnell-controlled Senate, or even be brought up for a vote. The Democratic move would instead act mainly as pressure point, obliging House members to go on record as supportive or not, and as measure of what negotiations might be required to gain the support of which House members. It comes after a year in which the NRA has found itself largely on the defensive, slashing budgets and facing serious questions as to how the proto-militia group managed to spend so much money during the 2016 elections and what relationship, exactly, its top members had with a now-exposed Russian spy, and a year in which the survivors of the Parkland, Florida shooting were relentless in redefining the gun violence debate out from under the guns-everywhere NRA lobbyists.
It also, of course, on the heels of countless mass murders caused by America’s addiction to putting guns into the hands of the violent. We shall see if the public outrage over those murders, and the widespread and overwhelming public support for new restrictions on gun sales, translates into new congressional courage or if still more members, of both parties, need to be shown the door.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.