House approves gun control bill package in response to Buffalo and Uvalde shootings

House approves gun control bill package in response to Buffalo and Uvalde shootings

House approves gun control bill package in response to Buffalo and Uvalde shootings

Washington- The Democrat-led House passed legislation Wednesday tightening the country’s gun laws, as lawmakers in both chambers react to a pair of mass shootings in New York and Texas that shocked the nation.

The legislation was passed primarily along party lines 223-204, with five Republicans joining all but two of Democrats.

Called the “Protecting Our Kids Act,” the legislation is a package of eight gun laws that: cleared the House Judiciary Committee along party lines last week. The House’s action comes after members of the Oversight and Reform Committee heartbreaking testimony heard from a fourth-grader who played the . survived Shooting Robb Elementaryas well as those who have lost loved ones in the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York

“It was an attack on our country’s culture that our children would not be able to go to school without fear or concern for their safety,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in comments on the House floor as lawmakers gathered to debate the bill. . “Our children are, as President Kennedy said, our greatest resource and our best hope for the future. They are our precious treasure, and everything we do is for the children, and for the children we must stop this violence in our country and are restoring their confidence in their safety wherever they are. So we are on a crusade for the children and sadly now, through the children.”

House Republican leaders urged their members to vote against the measure, arguing that it is a “reactionary package” made up of proposals that violate Americans’ Second Amendment rights and their ability to self-defend. hinder to protect.

Despite opposition from the GOP, the legislation has still been passed by the House, although it is unlikely to get approval through the 50-50 Senate, where 60 votes are needed for bills to filibuster and progress. In the Senate, a bipartisan group of senators has been working on a more tailored plan to curb gun violence, and negotiators are striving for consensus on a measure by the end of the week. At least 10 senators met on Wednesday to discuss arms reforms.

Still, Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat who is one of the lead negotiators, said Tuesday at an event at a gun violence memorial on the National Mall that the bill will pressure the Senate to “do the right thing.” †

As senators continue to work to agree legislation to reform firearms laws, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her Democratic colleagues in a letter Tuesday that the “urgent” package includes provisions that “save lives and give hope.”

She asked all Democrats to be on the House floor for the two-hour pre-vote debate in support of gun violence survivors and those killed.

Moved quickly by lawmakers after the massacres at a Buffalo supermarket and an elementary school in Uvalde, which together killed 31 adults and children, the Protecting Our Kids Act would raise the minimum age for purchasing a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21 years old. and ban large-capacity magazines. The legislation also encourages safe storage of firearms and requirements for weapons storage in residential buildings, and builds on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ regulatory ban on butt stock, which allows semi-automatic rifles to fire faster.

The lower house will also consider a plan this week by Representative Lucy McBath, a Georgia Democrat who lost her son to gun violence, that would allow family members and law enforcement to obtain an extreme risk protection order from a federal court to temporarily remove access to firearms. for persons considered to be a danger to themselves or others.

In response to the Buffalo and Uvalde shootings, President Joe Biden pressured Congress to send legislation to his office that strengthens federal gun laws. In a speech to the nation last week, the president said: repeatedly declared “enough” as he mourned the lives lost to gun violence.

“How much carnage are we willing to accept? How many innocent American lives have to be taken before we say enough? Enough,” the president said.

Biden, as he has done before, called on lawmakers to reinstate the 1994 ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, which has since expired, strengthen background checks and enact safe storage and red flag laws. He also urged Congress to revoke the immunity that protects arms manufacturers from liability.

But many of those proposals are unlikely to gain traction among Senate Republicans, and members involved in the negotiations have instead discussed a narrow plan that included more funding for mental health, expanding background checks and increasing encouraging states to enact warning laws .

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday that members “hope to actually get a result that will make a difference in mental health, school safety and things related to the incidents that have occurred in Texas and Buffalo.”

Jack Turman contributed to this report