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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

The House on Wednesday passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which would require background checks for all firearm sales, including those sold at gun shows and online.

Why it matters: This is the first gun control bill that Congress has considered in nearly 25 years. Gun control has been near the top of the Democratic agenda since the party took back control of the House in November's midterms, galvanized by recent mass shootings and student-led activism.

Details: The bill, HR 8, also prohibits firearms transfers by a person who is not a licensed dealer. However, it does exclude "gifts to family members and transfers for hunting, target shooting, and self-defense," according to the House Judiciary Committee website.

  • House Republicans were also able to add an amendment to the bill — with support from some Democrats — that would force the NICS background check database to notify ICE if an undocumented immigrant attempts to buy a firearm.
  • Critics of the bill, including shooting survivor Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), note that universal background checks would target law-abiding owners and could not have prevented several recent shootings in which shooters had passed a federal background check.

What to watch: Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) told CNN on Tuesday that it's "unlikely" the Republican majority will take up the bill for debate soon. A second bill, the Enhanced Background Checks Act, is up for a vote in the House on Thursday. It would extend time for the FBI to conduct background checks.

Go deeper: The flurry of new state gun laws after Parkland

Go deeper

Trading platforms curb trading on high-flying Reddit stocks

Major trading platforms including Robinhood, TDAmeritrade and Interactive Brokers are restricting — or cutting off entirely — trading on high-flying stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment.

Why it matters: It limits access to the traders that have contributed to the wild Reddit-driven activity of the past few days — a phenomenon that has gripped Wall Street and the country.

2020 was the economy's worst year since 1946

Source: FRED; Billions of chained 2012 dollars; Chart: Axios Visuals

One of the last major economic report cards of the Trump era lends perspective to the historic damage caused by the pandemic, which continued to weigh on growth in the final quarter of 2020.

By the numbers: The U.S. economy grew at a 4% annualized pace in the fourth quarter, a sharp slowdown in growth compared to the prior quarter. For the full year, the economy shrank by 3.5% — the first annual contraction since the financial crisis and the worst decline since 1946.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

How GameStop exposed the market

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Retail traders have found a cheat code for the stock market, and barring some major action from regulatory authorities or a massive turn in their favored companies, they're going to keep using it to score "tendies" and turn Wall Street on its head.

What's happening: The share prices of companies like GameStop are rocketing higher, based largely on the social media organizing of a 3-million strong group of Redditors who are eagerly piling into companies that big hedge funds are short selling, or betting will fall in price.