The house has crossed a wide range gun control Wednesday’s bill in response to recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, would raise the age limit for purchasing semi-automatic rifles and ban the sale of magazines with more than 15 rounds capacity .
The act was passed by a mostly partisan vote 223-204. It has little chance of becoming law as the Senate pursues negotiations focused on improving mental health programs, increasing school security and increasing background checks. But the House bill gives Democratic lawmakers a chance to give voters a vote in November, where they stand for policies that polls show are widely supported.
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“We can’t save every life, but God, should we try? America we listen to you and today at the House we are taking the action you are asking for,” said Representative Veronica Escobar, D-Texas. “Take note of who is with you and who is not.”
The push comes after a House committee heard harrowing testimony from recent shooting victims and family members, including 11-year-old Miah Cerrillo, who was covered blood of a classmate who died to avoid being shot at Uvalde elementary school.
The seemingly never-ending cycle of mass shootings in the United States has rarely prompted Congress to act. But the shooting deaths of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde revived efforts in a way that lawmakers on both sides spoke of the need to respond.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, said: “It is appalling that our children are forced to live in this constant fear.
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Pelosi said the House vote would “make history by making progress.” But it’s unclear where the House measure will go after Wednesday’s vote, as Republicans staunchly oppose them.
“The answer is not to repeal the Second Amendment, but that’s exactly where the Democrats want to go,” said Representative Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
The work of finding common ground is mainly taking place in the Senate, which will need support from 10 Republicans for the bill to be signed into law. Nearly a dozen Democratic and Republican senators met privately for an hour Wednesday in hopes of reaching a framework for compromise legislation by the end of the week. Participants said there needs to be more conversation about a tentative plan that proposes modest steps.
In a measure of the political danger gun control poses to Republicans, five of the top six Senate GOP negotiators won’t have to run for re-election until 2026. Thanks to Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Thom Tillis of North Carolina. The sixth, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, will retire in January. Also notable is that none of the six are seeking the Republican presidential nomination.
While Cornyn said the talks were serious, he did not join the chorus of Democrats that said the outlines of a deal could be reached by the end of this week. He told reporters on Wednesday that he considers reaching an agreement before Congress begins its session at the end of June as “an aspirational goal.”
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The House bill combines various proposals that Democrats had put forward before the recent shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. The suspects in the Uvalde shootings, the Buffalo elementary school and supermarket were all 18 years old, authorities said, when they purchased the semi-automatic weapons used in the attacks. The bill would raise the minimum age to purchase such weapons to 21.
“A person under the age of 21 cannot buy Budweiser. We shouldn’t let someone under the age of 21 buy an AR-15 weapon of war,” said Representative Ted Lieu, D-Calif.
Republicans have noted that a US appeals court ruling last month found California’s ban on selling semi-automatic weapons to adults under the age of 21 unconstitutional.
“This is unconstitutional and immoral. Why is it immoral? Because we’re asking 18, 19 and 20 year olds to sign up for drafts. You can die for your country. We expect you to protect us, but we won’t give you the tools to protect yourself and your family,” said Representative Thomas Massie, R-Ky.
The House bill also includes incentives to increase the use of gun safes and introduces penalties for violating safe storage requirements, providing for fines and imprisonment. up to 5 years if the gun is not stored properly and then used by a minor. to injure or kill oneself or another individual.
It also builds on executive action by the Biden administration banning “ghost guns” and “ghost guns” fast-acting devices from being assembled without serial numbers.
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The House of Representatives is expected to pass a bill on Thursday that would allow families, police and others to ask a federal court for an order to take guns away from people deemed to pose a risk of self-harm. or someone else.
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia currently have such “red flag laws.” Under the House bill, a judge could issue a temporary order to remove and store the firearm until a hearing can be held no longer than two weeks later to determine whether the firearm should be returned. hold for a specific period of time.
Associated Press journalist Alan Fram contributed to this report.
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