In one of their biggest moments since winning the majority in November, House Democrats pushed through legislation on Wednesday mandating federal criminal background checks on all gun sales, including private transactions.
For Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats, it represents a signature moment as they try to fulfill their campaign pledge to take action on gun violence.
The House passed the bill on a 240-190 vote. Eight Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with the Democrats, while two Democrats — Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Collin Peterson of Minnesota — voted with Republicans against the legislation.
The background checks legislation faces stiff opposition in the GOP-controlled Senate, and President Donald Trump — who has strong backing from the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups — has vowed to veto the bill if it ever reaches his desk.
But House Democrats insist that some federal action must be taken to address the growing toll of gun violence. In addition to Wednesday’s vote, they will move legislation on Thursday to close the “Charleston loophole,” which allows people to buy guns before background checks are completed, and extend the time period for any background checks from three days to as long as 20 days. White supremacist Dylann Roof was able to buy a gun in 2015 despite pending drug charges, and he later killed nine African-Americans at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.