Politics In the first such vote in years, the House...

In the first such vote in years, the House wants to revive bans on some firearms


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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a press conference Friday. The House has passed legislation to revive the ban on semi-automatic guns. The bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a press conference Friday. The House has passed legislation to revive the ban on semi-automatic guns. The bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

WASHINGTON – The House on Friday passed legislation to revive a ban on some semi-automatic firearms, the first vote of its kind in years and a direct response to the guns being used in a spate of mass shootings in communities across the country.

Once banned in the US, high-powered firearms are now widely blamed as the weapon of choice among young men responsible for many of the most devastating mass shootings. But Congress let a 1994 ban on the manufacture and sale of weapons lapse a decade later, unable to muster the political support to counter the powerful gun lobby and reinstate the ban.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi postponed the vote in the Democratic-run House, saying the earlier ban “saved lives.”

President Joe Biden welcomed the House vote, saying, “The majority of Americans agree with this common sense action.” He urged the Senate to “move quickly to bring this bill to my desk.”

However, it is likely to stall in the 50-50 Senate. House legislation has been shunned by Republicans, who Democrats dismiss as an election-year tactic. Almost all Republicans voted against the House bill, which passed 217-213.

The bill comes amid heightened concerns about gun violence and shootings — the supermarket shooting in Buffalo, NY; the massacre of school children in Uvalde, Texas; And the Fourth of July shooting of revelers in Highland Park, Ill.

With the Congress party split and MLAs forced to register their votes, voters seem to take their votes seriously in an election year. A recent vote to protect same-sex marriage from potential Supreme Court legal challenges won a surprising amount of bipartisan support.

As a member of the Senate in 1994, Biden was instrumental in passing the first semi-automatic weapons ban. The Biden administration said that during the 10-year ban, mass shootings declined. “When prohibition ended in 2004, mass shootings tripled,” the statement said.

Republicans have stood firm against limits on the ownership of high-powered firearms during an emotional debate at times before the vote.

“This is a gun grab, pure and simple,” Rep. said Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa.

Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga. Said, “An armed America means a safe and free America.”

Democrats argued that banning weapons made sense, portraying Republicans as extreme and out of step with the American people.

Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said the gun ban is not about taking away Americans’ Second Amendment rights, but about making sure children have the right “not to be shot at school.”

Pelosi displayed a gun company’s poster advertising children’s weapons, marketed with miniature versions of the popular AR-15 rifle and cartoon-like characters. “Disgusting,” she said.

In one exchange, two Ohio lawmakers squared off.
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Democratic Rep. “Your freedom stops where mine begins and the freedom of my constituents begins,” Marcy Kaptur told Republican Rep. Jim Jordan. “Schools, shopping malls, grocery stores, Independence Day parades should not be scenes of mass carnage and bloodshed.”

Jordan responded by inviting her to his congressional district to debate the Second Amendment, saying he believed most of his constituents “probably agree with me and agree with the United States Constitution.”

The bill would make it illegal to import, sell or manufacture a long list of semi-automatic weapons. Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, DN.Y. That includes an exemption to allow possession of existing semi-automatic rifles, he said.

Reps. Chris Jacobs of New York and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania were the only Republicans to vote for the measure. The Democratic lawmakers voting were Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas.

For nearly two decades, since the previous ban expired, Democrats have been reluctant to revisit the issue and confront the gun lobby. But voter views appear to be shifting, and Democrats are emboldened to act before the fall elections. The results will give voters an idea of ​​where the candidates stand on the issue.

Jason Quimet, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement after the vote that “just one month after the Supreme Court upheld gun rights,” gun control advocates in Congress continue to attack liberties and civil liberties. Law-abiding Americans.”

He said the bill could ban millions of guns “in clear contradiction to Supreme Court rulings” that have established and expanded gun ownership as an individual right.

Banned semi-automatic weapons will include some 200-plus types of semi-automatic rifles, including AR-15s and pistols. Restrictions will not apply to many other models.

Democrats had sought to tie the gun ban to a broader package of public safety measures that would have increased federal funding for law enforcement. It’s something that centrist Democrats in a tough re-election campaign wanted to protect against political attacks from their Republican opponents who are soft on crime.

Pelosi said the House will revisit the public safety bills in August when members are expected to return to Washington briefly to tackle other remaining legislation, including Biden’s health care priority inflation-fighting package and climate change policies.

Congress passed a modest gun violence prevention package just last month after the tragic shooting of 19 schoolchildren and two teachers in Uvalde. The bipartisan bill was the first of its kind after years of failed efforts to confront the gun lobby, including the 2012 mass tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

That law provides for expanded background checks on young adults buying firearms, allowing authorities to access some juvenile records. 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 to states, including for “red flag” laws that allow officers to remove guns from those who may harm themselves or others.

But even that modest effort to stem gun violence comes at a time of serious uncertainty over gun restrictions in the U.S. as a more conservative Supreme Court tackles gun rights and other issues.

Biden signed the measure two days after the Supreme Court ruled to strike down a New York law that limited people’s ability to carry concealed weapons.

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