A group of House Republicans gathered Tuesday on Capitol Hill to express their anger over two bills proposed by their Democratic colleagues that, if passed, would drastically tighten federal gun laws.
The Republican lawmakers, who were joined by a group of Second Amendment supporters, lambasted the two bills – HR 8 and HR 1112 – as “ineffective” and far overreaching measures that would ultimately lead to guns being confiscated from lawful owners.
“This bill turns law abiding citizens into criminals and it’s one more step towards federalized gun registration and ultimately gun confiscation,” Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Ga., the House Minority Whip, said. “That’s been the intention of many of the people bringing this bill for a long time. They want true gun control and this is the first step and surely not the last.”
Scalise became a victim of gun violence when he was severely wounded by a gunman who opened fire while lawmakers were practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity in June 2017.
HR 8, which was approved by the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month in a 23-15 vote along party lines, would expand the scope of federal background checks and require nearly all purchasers of firearms to undergo a background check – even if they were bought it at a gun show, online or in a private transaction. HR 1112, which passed the committee 21-14, would require gun dealers to wait 10 days to receive answers about a background check.
The bills were introduced a day before the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“Although we know the issue of gun violence won’t be fixed overnight, there are steps Congress can and must take to address it,” Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. “Closing loopholes in the current background check system are long-overdue legislative measures that will help address this national crisis.”
While a handful of House Republicans have signed up in support of HR 8 – including Rep. Peter King of New York – the vast majority of GOP lawmakers opposed the legislation.
“Frankly HR-8 is taking the fears and concerns of a nation over gun violence and perpetrating a fraud upon them,” Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., said on Tuesday. “They are preying upon the very victims they are supposedly trying to help by putting a bill out there that will not help them. By constantly bringing up the mass violence instances such as schools and theaters and others. They are saying this will help.The reality is nothing in this bill would have stopped Parkland and nothing in this bill would have stopped the violence we have seen.”
The bills are part of the Democrats' efforts since retaking control of the House to move quickly to combat gun violence and they appear set to pass through the lower house of Congress. The legislation, however, is likely to meet a quick end once it lands in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Fox News College Associate Benno Kass contributed reporting to this piece.