- The majority of House Democrats oppose an assault weapons ban and they are still seven cosponsors short of passing legislation.
- Democrats have been critical of the president’s changing stance on stronger background-check legislation since mass shootings killed over 50 people in the month of August alone.
- Republican Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie said House Democrats “want to take your guns,” but aren’t “sure politically” if they can do so and still maintain the majority.
House Democrats have not garnered enough support to pass legislation banning assault weapons while President Donald Trump has come under scrutiny for not actively pursuing stronger gun background checks.
The majority of House Democrats are co-sponsoring H.R. 1296, which was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 15, “makes it a crime to knowingly import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) or large capacity ammunition feeding device (LCAFD).”
The bill, however, needs 218 votes to pass; right now, it has 211 cosponsors, including New York Republican Rep. Peter King, The New York Times reported Wednesday. California Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein’s version Senate version the bill – S. 66 — has less support with a paltry 34 cosponsors.
CDN editor’s note: The measure only needs a single sponsor to make it out of committee and be brought to the floor, but it needs a majority to pass the House. Speaker Pelosi is requiring the Anti-Second Amendment progressives to prove they have the support to pass by requiring 218 sponsors to even bring it for a vote. The battle between “The Squad” Democrats and the Pelosi Democrats continues.
Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, who authored the bill, said an assault weapons ban is “an important way to reduce gun violence and to protect people from the carnage of mass shootings,” according to Newsweek.
The next House Judiciary Committee to discuss assault weapons will take place on Sept. 25.
House Democrats also plan to advance three other measures that will: limit the sales of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, make it easier for judges to take guns away from people who may pose a threat to civilians and bar convicted criminals from purchases firearms, NYT reported.
Democrats are pursuing the gun control measures most likely to pass rather than the assault weapons ban so as to protect a few moderate House members & more Senators afraid of its electoral impact, even without assurances that anything can pass
— Matt Grossmann (@MattGrossmann) September 12, 2019
Republican Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, chairman of the House Second Amendment Caucus, told The Washington Post he spent his August recess “making fun of people who say, ‘Nobody wants to take your guns.”
“Don’t tell me that,” he said. “I serve with the people that want to take your guns. What they should say is: We want to take your guns, but we’re not sure politically we can achieve that and keep our majority, and we know the president won’t sign it, so we’re not gonna take your guns yet.”
Democratic politicians, including 13 Democratic presidential candidates, have placed a large emphasis on banning assault weapons in the U.S. More than 50 people were killed in mass shootings during August.
Former President Bill Clinton wrote a TIME magazine op-ed in August calling for the comeback of a 1994 assault weapons ban.
“Elected officials speak about the need for change,” Clinton wrote. “But the tragedies do keep happening, while the one thing that we know can reduce the number and the death tolls of mass shootings has not been done: reinstituting the ban on assault weapons and the limit on high-capacity magazines that was in effect from 1994 to 2004.”
A 2004 study sponsored by the National Institute of Justice — which the Justice Department commissioned to determine “the effects of the 10-year ban on assault weapons enacted by Congress in 1994,” according to the abstract — concluded that researchers could not “clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.”
The study found a 17% drop in assault weapon violence. However, that reduction “was offset throughout at least the late 1990s by steady or rising use of other guns” that used limited capacity magazines.
This is a blatant lie that has been debunked repeatedly
The Justice Department commissioned and independent study from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) which found that the assault weapons ban did not reduce violence.
Someone take this guy’s account away, he’s senile https://t.co/Mj4mKhi4a0
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 5, 2019
“Generally, I’m not supportive of bans, because I think that we have to focus on sensible gun legislation that we can actually get passed,” Democratic New York Rep. Anthony Brindisi said, according to Newsweek.
“And when you have nine out of 10 Americans saying that they support something like background checks, to me, that’s where we should be focusing the bulk of our energy right now when it comes to gun legislation,” he continued.
Democrats have been critical of the president for his backtracking on stricter gun background checks despite struggling to gain full support for H.R. 1296.
Trump said he was “all in favor” of requiring background checks for gun purchases during an Aug. 7 White House press gathering after a shooting in El Paso, Texas, killed 22 and injured 26 and another in Dayton, Ohio, killed nine and injured at least 26 in August.
“There’s a great appetite — and I mean a very strong appetite — for background checks, and I think we can bring up background checks like we’ve never had before. I think both Republicans and Democrats are getting close to a bill. They’re doing something on background checks,” he said at the time.
The president appeared to flip his stance on the issue on Aug. 20.
“People don’t realize we have very strong background checks right now,” he told reporters while leaving New Jersey, adding that he is “very, very concerned with the Second Amendment.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the president’s change in stance “heartbreaking.”
“We’ve seen this movie before: President Trump, feeling public pressure in the immediate aftermath of a horrible shooting, talks about doing something meaningful to address gun violence, but inevitably, he backtracks in response to pressure from the NRA and the hard right. These retreats from President Trump are not only disappointing but also heartbreaking,” he said, according to Politico.
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