U.S. House passes gun control measures

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a pair of gun control bills as Democrats seized upon a shifting political landscape that they said improved chances for enacting new laws after years of failed attempts.

The first measure passed the House 227-203 with support from 8 Republicans.

It would close a long-standing loophole in gun laws by expanding background checks to those purchasing weapons over the internet, at gun shows and through certain private transactions.

The second bill passed 219-210 with two Republicans supporting it. It would give authorities 10 business days for federal background checks to be completed before a gun sale can be licensed.

Currently, it's three days.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said bipartisan support for the bills would lead the "drumbeat" of change across America.

PELOSI: "If you are afraid to vote for gun violence prevention because of your political survival, understand this -- the political survival of none of us is more important than the survival of our children."

Republicans opposing the bills argued that the legislation would not make streets safer and would infringe upon the constitutional right to bear arms.

President Joe Biden is a supporter of expanded gun control measures.

But the legislation will face a tougher battle in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats and Republicans are split 50/50. These bills would likely need 60 votes to pass.

Many Democrats want to go even further than Thursday's measures by banning sales of some high-capacity, military-style rifles that can fire ammunition rapidly.