House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed the vote toward passage in the House, saying the country’s previous ban “saved lives,” but the bill is likely to stall in the Senate 50-50.
WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives passed legislation on Friday To revive the ban on certain semi-automatic weaponsthe first vote of its kind in years and a direct response to the firearms often used in repression Mass shootings It permeates communities across the country.
Once banned in the United States, high-powered firearms are now It is widely blamed as the weapon of choice among young men It is responsible for many of the most devastating mass shootings. But Congress let restrictions on the manufacture and sale of weapons first enacted in 1994 lapse a decade later, unable to muster the political support to counter the powerful gun lobby and reinstate the ban.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed for passage in the Democratic-controlled House, saying the earlier ban “saved lives.”
President Joe Biden welcomed the House vote, saying, “The majority of the American people agree with this common sense action.” He urged the Senate to “move quickly to get this bill to my desk.”
However, it will likely stall in the Senate 50-50. Republicans are rejecting the House legislation, and Democrats have dismissed it as an election-year strategy. Almost all Republicans voted against the House bill, which passed by a vote of 217 to 213.
This bill comes at a time Escalating concerns about gun violence And the shooting – the supermarket shooting in Buffalo, New York. the massacre of school children in Uvalde, Texas; and the Fourth of July shooting at a party in Highland Park, Ill.
Voters seem to take such election-year votes seriously as Congress splits along party lines and lawmakers are forced to register their opinions. Recent vote to Protect same-sex marriages from potential Supreme Court legal challenges It garnered a surprising amount of bipartisan support.
Biden was instrumental in helping secure the first ban on semi-automatic weapons as a senator in 1994. The Biden administration said that for 10 years while the ban was in place, mass shootings declined. “When the ban ended in 2004, mass shootings tripled,” the statement said.
During an emotional debate before the vote, Republicans stood firmly against restrictions on the ownership of high-powered firearms.
“It’s a gun, pure and simple,” said Rep. Guy Rosenthaler, R-Pa.
“An armed America is a safe and free America,” said Representative Andrew Clyde.
Democrats have argued that gun bans make sense, portraying Republicans as extreme and out of step with Americans.
Rep. Jim McGovern, R-Massachusetts, said the gun ban is not about taking away Americans’ Second Amendment rights, but about ensuring that children also have the right “not to be shot at in school.”
Pelosi showed a poster of a gun company advertising children’s weapons, smaller versions that look like the popular AR-15 rifles and are marketed with cartoon characters. “Disgusting,” he said.
In one exchange, two Ohio legislators competed. “Your freedom stops where my freedom begins, and the freedom of my constituents begins,” Rep. Marcy Captor, a Democrat, told Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican. Schools, shopping malls, grocery stores, Independence Day parade should not be the scene of mass killing and bloodshed.
Jordan responded by inviting him to his congressional district to debate him on the Second Amendment, saying he believed most of his constituents “probably agree with me and agree with the Constitution of the United States.”
The bill would make it illegal to import, sell or manufacture a long list of semi-automatic weapons. The Judiciary Committee chairman, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said it would include exemptions that allow the possession of existing semi-automatic weapons.
Reps. Chris Jacobs of New York and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania were the only Republicans to vote for the measure. Democratic lawmakers who voted no were Reps. Curt Schrader of Oregon, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas.
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For nearly two decades, since the previous ban expired, Democrats have been reluctant to revisit the issue and confront the gun lobby. But voters’ opinions seem to be changing, and Democrats are emboldened to act before the fall election. The result gives voters information about where the candidates stand on the issue.
Jason Koimit, executive director of the NRA’s Legal Action Institute, said in a statement after the vote that “nearly a month” after the Supreme Court extended gun rights, “gun control advocates in Congress are leading an assault on civil liberties and liberties. are responsible Lawful Americans.”
He said the bill would potentially ban millions of firearms “in clear defiance of Supreme Court rulings” that have established and expanded gun ownership as an individual right.
Among the banned semi-automatic weapons are more than 200 types of semi-automatic rifles, including AR-15s and pistols. These restrictions do not apply to many other models.
Democrats had tried to tie the gun ban to a broader package of public safety measures that would have increased federal funding for law enforcement. That’s what moderate Democrats in tough re-election campaigns wanted to protect them from the political attacks of their Republican opponents.
Pelosi said the House will briefly return to Washington in August when lawmakers are expected to return to Washington briefly to deal with other remaining legislation, including Biden’s priority package to fight inflation, health care and climate change strategies. Public safety will pay.
Congress approved A simple gun violence prevention package After the tragic shooting of 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde last month. The bipartisan bill was the first of its kind after years of failed attempts to counter the gun lobby, including after a similar mass tragedy in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Kan.
that law Provides extensive background checks on young adults who purchase firearms and allows authorities to access specific records of juveniles. It also closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole” by denying gun purchases to those convicted of extramarital domestic abuse.
The new law also frees up federal funding for states, including “red flag” laws that enable authorities to take guns away from people who harm themselves or others.
But even this modest effort to stem gun violence comes at a time of great uncertainty in the United States about gun restrictions, as the more conservative Supreme Court takes up gun rights and other issues.
Biden signed the measure two days later Supreme Court ruling Overturning a New York law that restricted the ability of individuals to carry concealed weapons.
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