House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks at a rally with gun violence prevention organizations, gun violence survivors and hundreds of gun safety supporters demanding gun legislation, outside the United States Capitol in Washington, June 8 , 2022.
Evelyn Hawkstein | Reuters
The House on Wednesday passed a sweeping gun bill that would raise the minimum age to buy an assault rifle in the US from 18 to 21, even though the law doesn’t offer much of a chance in the Senate.
The bill, called the Protecting Our Kids Act, would also prohibit the sale of large-capacity magazines and establish new rules that guide proper at-home gun storage.
The Democratic-held chamber approved the legislation in a 223–204 vote. It passed in a mostly party line vote: five Republicans supported the measure, while two Democrats opposed it.
The House previously voted to include a purchase age provision by a margin of 228 to 199 — under heavy scrutiny following two recent massacres by 18-year-olds — in the wider bill.
The package is a collection of several pieces of legislation designed to limit access to guns and other firearms equipment in the wake of last month’s mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, that killed 31 Americans.
Another component of the law, called the Untraceable Firearms Act, would strengthen the rules for so-called ghost guns, or those firearms without serial numbers. It is far more difficult for law enforcement to track down ownership and possession of firearms lacking serial numbers.
While the House Democrats passed strong gun laws In response to the massacres, his success is largely symbolic. Senate Republicans, who have the power to block legislation with a filibuster that requires 60 votes to overcome, are united in their opposition to House restrictions on guns that would prevent the bill from moving forward.
A 50-50 split in the Senate, which casts the key tie-breaking vote to Vice President Kamala Harris, means Democrats will have to persuade 10 Republicans to support any legislation. A bipartisan group of senators is negotiating a brief settlement bill, which they say will strengthen background checks, improve mental health services and strengthen school security.
Political analysts say that neither the May 24 elementary school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, nor the racist violence at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, on May 14, are likely to provide substantial support for a bill passed by the House.
a gunman Rob Elementary shot 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde to death, while primarily attackingy black neighborhood in buffalo killed 10 People. Both the gunmen were 18 years old and were carrying AR-15 style assault rifles.
Victims’ parents, law enforcement officers and an 11-year-old Uvalde shooting survivor Appeared before Congress on Wednesday to urge MPs To pass new gun laws.
Kimberly Rubio, the mother of the murdered 10-year-old Lexi Rubio, has brought tears to lawmakers, saying she does not want her daughter to be remembered as “just a number”.
“She was intelligent, kind, and athletic. She was quiet, shy until she had an issue,” Rubio told the House Oversight Committee. “Somewhere out there, a mother is listening to our testimony, thinking, ‘I can’t even imagine their pain,’ not knowing that someday our reality will be hers. Until we act now.”
Red flag law allows family members, co-workers or the police to petition a court to confiscate a person’s weapons for a certain amount of time if the person is deemed a danger to himself or the public.
The views of the bipartisan Senate – while far less stringent – are Democrats’ best shot at sending any gun law to the president’s desk. Joe Biden To sign into law. The president, who has called on federal lawmakers to pass any tough gun laws, discussed bipartisan talks with Murphy on Tuesday.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that Biden supports red flag laws and more stringent background checks.
“We understand that not every component of what the president is calling is going to prevent every tragedy,” said Jean-Pierre. “But we have to step up, and we have to move on, and we have to do something.”
Despite overwhelming support from Congressional Democrats and the White House, the new gun law faces tough odds in the Senate, aides say, because the vast majority of Republicans will never vote for a slightly more strict gun bill.
Cornyn acknowledged that political reality from the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon, but struck an upbeat tone on cross-party talks.
“I am happy to say that we are making steady progress on this subject. It is early in the process, but I am optimistic about where things are now,” he said. “What am I optimistic about? I’m optimistic that we can pass a bill in the Senate, it can pass the House and it will get signed by President Biden. And it will become the law of the land.”
The Texas Republican said he is focusing on the importance of ensuring that young adults have access to mental health services and that schools have adequate safety protocols.
He also said that another idea under consideration is a law that would require states to upload juvenile records to the National Rapid Criminal Background Check System.
“Since this young man in Uvalde turned 18 and his juvenile records were no longer looked at, he passed a background check. It appears he was born on his 18th birthday and nothing that happened before That was important,” Cornyn said. “It’s clearly a problem.”