Home Passes Assault Weapons Ban That Is Doomed in Senate

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WASHINGTON — Responding to a string of mass shootings, a divided Home handed a ban on assault weapons on Friday, shifting over the near-unanimous opposition of Republicans to reinstate a prohibition that expired almost 20 years in the past.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the measure, which handed 217 to 213, as a “essential step in our ongoing combat towards the lethal epidemic of gun violence in our nation.” Solely two Republicans, Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Chris Jacobs of New York, joined Democrats in supporting the invoice.

5 Democrats voted towards the measure: Representatives Henry Cuellar of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Ron Type of Wisconsin, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas and Kurt Schrader of Oregon.

The laws would make it unlawful to promote, manufacture, switch, possess or import assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding units. It stands no probability of passing within the evenly divided Senate, the place such a sweeping gun management measure wouldn’t be capable to win over the ten Republicans it will want to beat a filibuster.

Nonetheless, the vote supplied a method for Democrats to display to voters months earlier than the midterm elections that they have been attempting to deal with the epidemic of gun violence in America. The motion within the Home got here after a spate of mass shootings, together with one in Uvalde, Texas, the place a gunman wielding an AR-15-style weapon killed 19 elementary college college students and two lecturers.

In an announcement on Friday night, President Biden applauded the Home’s passage of the assault weapons ban.

“Nearly all of the American folks agree with this common sense motion,” he mentioned, including that “there might be no better accountability than to do all we are able to to make sure the security of our households, our youngsters, our properties, our communities and our nation.”

The vote additionally gave Democrats one other alternative to attract a pointy distinction with Republicans. This month, the Home handed laws to ensure access to contraception nationwide, in addition to main protections for abortion and same-sex marriage. Whereas Democratic senators are hopeful that they may be capable to cross the same-sex marriage laws, virtually all Republicans in Congress are united in opposition to the contraception and abortion payments.

The talk on assault weapons on Friday got here a few month after the enactment of bipartisan gun safety legislation, a compromise measure to toughen background checks for potential patrons youthful than 21 that aimed to maintain weapons out of the fingers of harmful folks.

That measure omitted stricter gun controls that Democrats have lengthy demanded and most Republicans have opposed as infringements on the appropriate to bear arms.

“Weapons of battle are designed for battle,” Consultant Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas, mentioned on Friday, lamenting that such firearms are “simpler for a teen to get than to purchase a beer.”

He dismissed the just lately enacted legislation as a “weak, modest measure.”

Republicans argued that AR-15-style weapons are fashionable sporting rifles that law-abiding residents use for self-defense and looking. They usually dismissed the assault weapons invoice as an try by liberals to trample on gun rights whereas doing nothing to deal with the basis causes of crime.

“Let’s name this for what it’s: It’s a gun seize, pure and easy,” mentioned Consultant Man Reschenthaler, Republican of Pennsylvania. “This invoice isn’t about public security. Slightly, that is essentially the most extreme restriction on the Second Modification because the passage of the assault weapons ban of 1994.”

Whereas the vote on Friday united Democrats, the assault weapons ban generated an intense inner debate that uncovered divisions over the problem of legislation enforcement and crime, a theme that Republicans have signaled shall be a significant component of their marketing campaign assaults on Democrats earlier than the midterm elections.

Democrats had initially deliberate to pair the vote to ban assault weapons with laws that would supply extra funding to native police departments. Average Democrats from conservative-leaning districts argued that passing the police funding would blunt Republican accusations that Democrats are tender on crime and bent on defunding the police.

However the police laws drew criticism from progressives and members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who insisted that extra police accountability measures must be included. With the Home’s August recess set to start this weekend, Democratic leaders determined to carry a vote solely on the assault weapons invoice.

Ms. Pelosi mentioned on Friday that lawmakers would proceed to work on the police laws after returning to Washington later in the summertime.

When the Home passed the 1994 crime bill, which included the assault weapons ban, 46 Republicans supported the laws and 64 Democrats opposed it. The ban expired in 2004 and has by no means been renewed; the Republican Occasion is united in opposition to such a measure.

“The American individuals are uninterested in residing in worry,” mentioned Consultant Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts. “They’re uninterested in ideas and prayers. They’re uninterested in press releases providing sympathy however no options.”

“This isn’t a radical thought,” he added. “We’re not in uncharted territory.”

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