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US House passes semi-automatic gun ban after a gap of 18 years

Lisa Mascaro and Kevin Freaking, Associated Press

Published Friday, July 29, 2022 6:47 pm EDT

Last updated Friday, July 29, 2022 8:39 PM EDT

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) — The House passed legislation Friday to revive a ban on some semi-automatic guns, the first vote of its kind in years and a direct response to firearms that often hit communities nationwide in the crush of mass shootings. accelerates through.

Once banned in the US, high-powered firearms are now widely blamed as the weapon of choice among young men responsible for the most devastating mass shootings. But Congress allowed restrictions first imposed in 1994 on the manufacture and sale of weapons to expire a decade later, unable to garner political support to counter the powerful gun lobby and restore the arms embargo.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed for the vote to be passed in the Democratic-run House, saying the earlier ban “saved lives.”

President Joe Biden applauded 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 on my desk.”

However, it is likely to stall in the 50-50 Senate. The House law was rejected by Republicans, who rejected it as an election-year tactic by Democrats. Nearly all Republicans voted against the House bill, which passed 217–213.

The bill comes at a time of intensifying concerns about gun violence and shootings – the supermarket shooting in Buffalo, NY; Massacre of school children in Uvalde, Texas; and Fourth of July shooting fun-lovers in Highland Park, Ill.

Voters seem to be taking such election year votes seriously as the Congress is divided along party lines and MPs are forced to go on record with their views. A recent vote to save same-sex marriages from potential Supreme Court legal challenges won a surprising amount of bipartisan support.

As a senator in 1994, Biden was instrumental in helping to ban the first semi-automatic weapons. The Biden administration said that for the 10 years while the ban was in force, mass shootings declined. “When the ban ended in 2004, mass shootings tripled,” the statement said.

Republicans stood firmly against limits on high-powered firearms ownership during several emotional debates before the vote.

“It’s a gun grab, pure and simple,” said Rep. Guy Reichenthaler, R-Pa.

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

Democrats argued that the arms embargo was understandable, portraying Republicans as extreme and out of step with Americans.

Rape. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. Said that the arms embargo is not about taking away Americans’ Second Amendment rights, but ensuring that children also have the right to “not get shot at school.”

Pelosi displayed a poster advertising a gun company for children’s weapons, smaller versions resembling popular AR-15 rifles and marketed with cartoon-like characters. “Disgusting,” she said.

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

Jordan invited him to his congressional district to debate 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 illegal the import, sale or manufacture of a long list of semi-automatic weapons. Representative Jerry Nadler, D.N.Y., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said it exempts those already in possession.

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

For nearly two decades, Democrats have been reluctant to revisit the issue and confront the gun lobby since the last ban expired. But voter opinion appears to be changing and Democrats have dared to act ahead of the election. The result will provide information for voters as to where the candidates stand on the issue.

Jason Quimette, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement after the vote that “barely a month after” the Supreme Court expanded gun rights.” Gun control advocates in Congress are leading the attack on liberties and civil liberties. Law-abiding Americans.”

He said the bill potentially bans millions of firearms “in opposition to Supreme Court rulings that have established and expanded on gun ownership as an individual right.”

Among the banned semi-automatic weapons will be AR-15s and more than 200 types of semi-automatic rifles including pistols.

Democrats tried to link the arms embargo to a broader package of public safety measures that would increase federal funding for law enforcement. It’s something that centrist Democrats are soft on guilt, wanting to protect them from political attacks by their Republican opponents in tough re-election campaigns.

Pelosi said the House will revisit the public safety bills in August, when lawmakers are expected to return to Washington to handle the other remaining laws, including Biden’s inflation-fighting package of priority health care and the one making its way into the Senate. climate change strategy.

Congress passed a gun violence prevention package only last month after the painful shootings of 19 schoolchildren and two teachers in Uvalde. The bipartisan bill was the first of its kind after years of unsuccessful attempts to confront the gun lobby, including after a similar 2012 mass tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

The law provides for extended background checks on young adults who purchase firearms, allowing authorities to access certain juvenile records. It also closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole” by denying gun purchases to those convicted of domestic abuse outside of marriage.

The new law also frees up federal funding to states, including “red flag” laws that enable officers to remove guns from people who would harm themselves or others.

But even the modest effort to curb gun violence came at a time of serious uncertainty surrounding firearms bans in the US as the more conservative Supreme Court deals with gun rights and other issues.

Biden signed it two days after a Supreme Court ruling that struck down a New York law restricting people’s ability to carry concealed weapons.

World Nation News Desk
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