House of Representatives: Most of the attention this week focused on the testimony of Michael Cohen, president Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney. However, the House of Representatives passed landmark legislation on Wednesday that could make it harder for would-be criminals to legally get their hands on a firearm. However, Bloomberg noted on February 28 that "the bill will hit a roadblock with the GOP-led Senate."

This bill has been named the "Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019," and it passed through the House with 240 representatives voting in favor and 190 voting against it.

The votes on this legislation fell mostly along party lines, and it is the most sweeping piece of gun control legislation that has ever passed either chamber of Congress in a generation.

This bill, which is now headed towards the Senate, will close the loopholes that currently allow people to purchase a firearm at a gun show or online without going through a federally mandated background check. If this legislation becomes law, all firearm purchases, with the exception of a transfer between relatives or someone loaning a gun for use at a shooting range or while hunting, will be subject to a mandatory background check.

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-California sponsored this bill, and it enjoyed almost universal support from House Democrats, and it did manage to garner five Republican co-sponsors and eight votes from GOP members of the House.

Gun control bill is unlikely to pass final hurdles before becoming law

Although this bill could be hailed as a victory by the majority-Democratic House, it faces a steep uphill battle to becoming actually signed into law, as 52 of the Senate's 100 seats are occupied by Republicans.

For years, as America has been rocked by one mass shooting after another, and as victims and relatives of victims have called on lawmakers to pass more stringent gun control legislation, the GOP has strongly and stubbornly resisted making current gun laws even the least bit more restrictive in order to prevent future shootings.

Many simply were resigned to the fact that nothing could get done either way to make progress.

About a year ago, 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which inspired some students at the school to publicly speak out in favor of gun control legislation. Shortly afterward, president Trump suggested that teachers in public school should be armed in order to prevent another shooting.

Although Trump's exact position is somewhat controversial, his overall stance on how to prevent future incidents of mass gun violence are generally in line with the GOP's philosophy on protecting the public from mass shootings. Numerous Republicans are strongly against gun control legislation as they feel that it would interfere with the ability of a good Samaritan to stop a would-be assailant. In addition, the National Rifle Association, America's leading gun-rights lobbying organization, has funded and supported president Trump and other GOP politicians over the years.

Many Democrats, on the other hand, have been pushing for stronger gun control legislation, arguing that universal background checks would prevent at least some future shootings by resulting in fewer guns on the streets.

Politicians and their constituents differ on gun control stance

While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are sharply divided on how to prevent future tragedies involving firearms, American citizens have found some sort of consensus.

Shortly after the Parkland shooting, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 62 percent of people think president Trump hasn't done to prevent mass shootings, while 77 percent feel Congress hasn't done enough.

A January poll done by Quinnipiac showed that 95 percent of Democrats, 94 percent of independents and 89 percent of Republicans supported mandatory background checks for all prospective gun buyers.

Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 is just one gun control bill the House is looking to pass

On February 28, a second bill will be addressed that would give federal authorities more time to properly conduct background checks on individuals looking to purchase a firearm. Right now, a gun purchase will be automatically approved if a background check isn't completed within three business days.

This second bill would allow for up to 20 days for a background check to be finalized. In addition, it would close what is known as the "Charleston loophole," which gives individuals the ability to purchase a gun before a background check is done.

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