One of the first bills Democrats brought up after taking back control of the House of Representatives signals that the party's campaign promises on gun control weren't for nothing. A bill requiring universal background checks advanced through the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and will now go to the full House, but not everyone is happy about the proposal. The NRA slammed Congress' universal background check bill in a Thursday tweet — which fell on the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
"The Democrats don't want to end at 'universal' background checks," the official NRA Twitter account posted exactly one year since the tragic Parkland shooting, along with an article from right-wing media outlet Breitbart. "Rep. @GReschenthaler (R-PA) is right – #HR8 will lead to a national gun registry, which always leads to confiscation. NRA members and gun owners see through their sneaky agenda."
While Democrats and their constituents may indeed want more than just universal background checks — other popular policies include a federal ban on high capacity ammunition magazines and assault rifles — this particular bill really would just institute universal background checks, according to The Washington Post.
The goal of the legislation, according to House Democrats, is to close existing loopholes that allow people to obtain guns in certain circumstances without background checks, as NBC News reports. These include, for example, private guns shows where individuals can buy guns on site, or cases where someone gives a gun to a family member. As NBC News notes, this bill would require that would-be gun owners undergo a background check in all cases.
"It is time to close this dangerous loophole," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-New York), according to The Hill. "This is long-overdue legislation that will help address our national crisis of gun violence."
Beyond just claiming that the proposed legislation has an ulterior motive, the NRA's tweet is also false in claiming that a national gun registry "always leads to confiscation."
Gun retailers in Switzerland have to record who buys a gun, according to The Independent, and the country still has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world. While The Independent notes that the NRA has previously pointed to Switzerland as an example of a country where high gun ownership doesn't lead to violence, the Swiss system undermines the NRA's point in this case. Finland is another country with a high rate of gun ownership, a registry for all legally-owned guns, and no movement toward gun confiscation, per the Finnish news outlet YLE.
The NRA's claims were a stretch — but it's likely that not everyone will buy them. After all, universal background checks are a very popular policy in the United States. A poll taken not long after the Parkland shooting found that 97 percent of people supported universal background checks, with only 2 percent opposed. House, and perhaps later Senate, Republicans who oppose this bill would find themselves in the clear minority compared to the country as a whole.