The House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would require a background check for every gun sale. This is the first time that federal legislation requiring universal background checks reached a vote in Congress. Its passage marks a historic milestone for the gun reform movement, which has fought to bring the measure to lawmakers’ attention since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
House Democrats were expected to unanimously support the measure, and they nearly did: Only two Democrats, freshman lawmaker Jared Golden (D-Maine) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) voted against the bill. But Republican support remained an open question until the vote: Democrats had touted the bill as a bipartisan measure—they even named it the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019”—but only five GOP lawmakers agreed to co-sponsor the legislation in advance of the vote.