CASPER — Rep. Liz Cheney voted Friday in favor of one of the largest gun control bills in decades, joining 13 other House Republicans to send it to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.
Because of the current partisan breakdown of the House, it did not need Republican support to get passed. Still, Cheney and a small group of House Republicans voted in favor of it, bringing the final vote to 234-193.
The bill, which follows a string of mass shootings, will give resources to states to implement red flag laws, which allow police or family members to request that courts keep firearms away from people if they are a risk to themselves or others. It would not make red flag laws mandatory.
The 80-page bill also includes millions of dollars for mental health, school safety and crisis intervention programs. It would allow authorities up to 10 business days to review the mental health records of gun buyers younger than 21. It also closes the so-called boyfriend loophole.
“As a mother and a constitutional conservative, I’m proud to support this sensible bill that will protect our children and limit violence without infringing on law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights,” Cheney said in a statement. “Nothing in the bill restricts the rights of responsible gun owners. Period. I will always protect the Second Amendment.
This legislation recognizes the importance of that right while making our schools safer, providing more tools for law enforcement, and expanding funding for mental health resources which is why I voted for it.”
Despite the fact that red flag laws are still up to the state to implement, a large bloc of state lawmakers spoke out against the legislation because of the inclusion of the red flag provisions.
As a Wyoming congresswoman, Cheney represents one of the most gun-friendly states in the country. Both of Wyoming’s senators voted against the legislation.
Cheney’s vote is the latest in the growing line of examples of her breaking with the party to stand up for her principles, even if it means severe backlash from other Wyoming Republicans.
Following her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump and her service as vice chairwoman on the Jan. 6 investigative committee, one of the main criticisms lodged against her is that she is not representing Wyoming values and the views of her constituents.
Cheney is facing a tough primary challenger in Trump-endorsed lawyer Harriet Hageman, who immediately put out a statement in response to Cheney’s vote.
“Whatever Liz Cheney is doing with our only House seat, she certainly isn’t using it to represent the views and values of the people of Wyoming,” Hageman said. “The lawful possession of firearms for hunting and self-defense is an integral part of our DNA in this state, and we don’t want our constitutional rights negotiated away. We all agree that mental health is an important issue that needs to be addressed, but we should not limit the rights of law-abiding citizens. Red flag laws, for example, can be easily abused to deny legal gun ownership to responsible citizens, including even members of the military. I would most certainly have voted against this bill.”
Biden has indicated that he will sign the bill into law soon.