House passes ban on assault weapons, could it die in the Senate?

On Friday, on a near party-line vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a ban on semi-automatic firearms — the weapons used in multiple mass shootings.

With the 217-213 vote, the bill, H.R. 1808, will head to the evenly divided Senate, but it’s unlikely to advance there, as the ban would need all Democrats on board plus 10 Republicans to get past a filibuster.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, has not announced if he plans to bring the weapons ban to the floor for a vote.

“Each year, more children die from gun violence than any other cause,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the House floor. “Our nation has watched unspeakable horror as assault weapons have been used in massacre after massacre.”

All but five Democrats backed the ban. Only two Republicans voted in favor: Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Chris Jacobs of New York.

The five Democrats that split with their party and opposed the ban were Reps. Jared Golden of Maine, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas.

The push for banning semi-automatic firearms came after they were used in mass shootings in Uvalde Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were murdered, and in Buffalo, New York, where a white supremacist murdered 10 Black people at a grocery store.

A semi-automatic weapon also was used in a July Fourth shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, where seven people were killed.

This year alone, there have been 372 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

The bill bans all semi-automatic rifles that can have a detachable magazine and have a military feature such as a pistol grip, and a detachable stock or grenade launcher, among other features. It also bans “all semi-automatic rifles that have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.”

The bill, if enacted into law, would not ban current semi-automatic weapons that people own, meaning current firearm owners would have their weapons grandfathered in.

The White House issued a statement on Friday in support of the bill.

“40,000 Americans die from gunshot wounds every year and guns have become the top killer of children in the United States,” according to the statement. “As President Biden has repeatedly called for, we must do more to stop this gun violence and save lives.”

The passage of the bill follows another gun-related bill that Biden signed into law in late June following the mass shootings in Texas and New York. That bill, the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” consists of eight provisions.

To read the entire article, which appeared on the website of the Florida Phoenix, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to coverage of state government and politics from Tallahassee, click here.


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