House Republicans thwarted the latest attempt by Democrats on Thursday to force a vote on curbing gun purchases by suspected terrorists as the two parties continued testing the political impact of last week's mass shooting in San Bernardino.
By a near-party line vote of 242-173, the House turned aside an effort by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to hold an immediate vote on the legislation. The bill is sponsored by one of the few GOP lawmakers who support gun restrictions, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.
Thursday's vote was no surprise. Congressional Republicans heavily oppose gun curbs, and with the backing of the National Rifle Association have resisted Democrat attempts to force what amount to symbolic votes on the issue.
"Public sentiment demands actions," said Pelosi, adding that it is time to "close the outrageous loophole."
Republicans said little in response.
Last week, the GOP-led Senate rejected its version of legislation preventing suspected terrorists from being allowed to buy firearms from licensed gun dealers. Republicans argued that federal lists of terror suspects are riddled with errors that people should be allowed to contest before losing their right to own a weapon.
Democratic efforts to restrict guns have gained a new urgency since last month's attacks in Paris and last week's shootings in San Bernardino, California, in which 14 victims died. The California massacre was carried out by a married couple who federal authorities say embraced extremist views.
Republicans have reacted to those attacks by seeking to curb Syrian refugees and visa-free tourism to the U.S.
House Democrats are also addressing the issue by insisting that a government-wide spending bill Congress plans to consider next week lift curbs against federal research on gun violence.