The House is gearing up for a vote on Friday to revive the ban on semi-automatic weapons, the first such vote in years and a direct response to the firearms often used in the crushing mass shootings that are tearing communities apart across the country. national scale.
Once banned in the United States, high-powered firearms are now widely considered the weapon of choice for young men responsible for many of the most devastating mass shootings. But Congress let restrictions first put in place in 1994 expire a decade later, unable to muster the political support to counter the powerful gun lobby and reinstate the gun ban.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed the vote toward passage in the Democratic-led House, saying the earlier ban “saved lives.”
The House legislation is shunned by Republicans, who dismiss it as an election strategy for Democrats. He will likely stagnate in the Senate 50-50.
The bill comes at a time of heightened concerns about gun violence and shootings – the supermarket shooting in Buffalo, NY; massacre of schoolchildren in Uvalde, Texas; and the July 4 shooting of revelers in Highland Park, Illinois.
Voters appear to be taking these votes seriously as Congress splits along party lines and lawmakers are pressured to make their views known. A recent vote to protect same-sex marriages from possible legal challenges in the Supreme Court has won surprising bipartisan support.
President Joe Biden, who was instrumental in passing the first gun ban as a senator in 1994, encouraged passage, promising to sign the bill if it made it to his desk. In a statement ahead of the vote, his administration said “we know a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines will save lives.”
The Biden administration said that for 10 years while the ban was in place, mass shootings declined. “When the ban expired in 2004, the mass shootings tripled,” the statement said.
Congress passed a modest gun violence prevention agenda last month following 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 after a similar mass tragedy in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
This law provides for expanded 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 violence outside of marriage.
The new law also frees up federal funds for states, including for “red flag” laws that allow authorities to take away guns from those who harm themselves or others.
But even that modest effort to end gun violence came at a time of grave uncertainty in the United States over gun restrictions, as the more conservative Supreme Court takes aim at gun rights. fire and other problems.
Biden signed the measure two days after the Supreme Court’s ruling struck down a New York law that restricted people’s ability to carry concealed weapons.
The Independent Gt