WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House followed the Senate's lead Tuesday and unveiled a bill to strengthen background checks for gun purchases.
The measure, introduced Monday night by Reps. Pete King (R-N.Y.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), also featured bipartisan support from Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Pat Meehan (R-Pa.), Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) and Peter Defazio (D-Ore.).
The King-Thompson legislation is identical to the bipartisan agreement on background checks struck by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
“Background checks are the first line of defense against criminals and the dangerously mentally ill getting guns,” Thompson and King said in a joint statement. "This bill is comprehensive, it is enforceable, it will save lives, and it will protect the rights of law abiding Americans to own guns. It’s time for Congress to act. The American people are getting a vote in the Senate. They deserve one in the House."
The House members will have to convince Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring up the measure.
The Senate version has run into trouble from Republicans with tea-party leanings, like many of the GOP members in Boehner's caucus. Many call it unconstitutional and predict it's some sort of step toward establishing a registry of all gun owners, although such a list is explicitly banned in the bill. Trying to create such a registry would be punishable by up to 15 years in jail.
The lawmakers made sure to point out the penalties in their statement on the measure. And while the National Rifle Association has come out against the bill, it noted that the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, which it said is the second-largest gun rights organization in the country, backs the bill.
The Senate version is being debated in the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.
Read the Senate bill below:
Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.