House Judiciary Committee passes sweeping gun control legislation in wake of mass shootings

By Clare Foran and Kristin Wilson, CNN

The House Judiciary Committee is hosting a markup on Thursday of a broad set of gun control laws called the “Protecting Our Children Actas lawmakers face intense pressure to act in the wake of recent mass shootings.

House Democrats set to vote on gun bills following a series of gruesome shootings that shocked the nation, including at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and at a supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York.

Many of these measures are unlikely to make it to the Senate, however, amid widespread GOP opposition to stricter gun controls. A bipartisan group of senators are engaging in talks to try to find common ground on gun policy, but it’s still unclear what, if anything, will result from the effort.

The “Protecting Out Kids Act,” proposed by Democrats, includes a series of individual bills aimed at preventing gun violence. The measure would increase the legal age to buy certain semi-automatic centerfire rifles from 18 to 21 years old, establish new federal offenses for the trafficking of firearms and for sale of large format magazinesand allow local governments to compensate people who give up these magazines by a buyback program. This would create a tax incentive for retail sales of safe storage devices and criminal penalties for non-compliance with new requirements governing the storage of firearms on residential premises. The measure would also take steps to strengthen existing federal regulations on bump stocks and ghost guns.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York, on Thursday called for measures to prevent gun violence, underscoring a sense of urgency after what happened in Uvalde and Buffalo as well as other incidents.

“We must enact strict laws to protect our people. And if all those mass shootings don’t do it, I don’t know what will,” he said.

Nadler said he hoped this time would be different, but “cannot speak for the Senate.”

“I hope they do the right thing,” he said.

Most laws require 60 votes to overcome a filibuster and pass the Senate and Democrats control only 50 seats. At least 10 Republicans are expected to vote with Democrats to pass new gun laws, an unlikely prospect.

The deep partisan divide on the issue was clear during Thursday’s markup as Republicans opposed the legislative package of gun control measures.

Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, dismissed the package of gun bills as partisan.

“Nobody wants another tragedy. Nobody wants this to happen again. That’s why it’s unfortunate that Democrats rushed to a markup today in what looks more like political theater than a real attempt to improve public safety or find solutions,” he said. -he declares.

“The Democrats have never contacted us once to ask for our opinion on the legislation we’re considering here today,” Jordan said, adding, “It’s not a real attempt, in my opinion, to find solution”.

Jordan has also rejected calls from Democrats to raise the age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle to 21.

“It’s unconstitutional,” Jordan told CNN.

Democratic Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, a member of the committee, defended the Democrats’ strategy to score a bill that would overhaul gun policy, even if it wouldn’t get enough support to pass the Senate.

Some Democrats worry that going too far could bolster Republican opposition to a bipartisan deal in the Senate.

“The American people demand that Congress take action to reduce gun violence in this country,” Cicilline said. “And if the measure was that we were only going to pass bills that we trusted the Senate would pass, we could go home because we have dozens of bills waiting to be passed in the Senate. “

GOP lawmaker displays guns during markup

Florida Republican Rep. Greg Steube used his time during House judicial markup to display an array of handguns in an effort to show which guns might be banned. He was participating remotely and later said he was home.

“Right here in front of me I have a Sig Sauer P226,” he said, brandishing the weapon visible on screen. “It comes with a 21-round magazine. This weapon would be prohibited.

Steube then tried to insert a smaller magazine into the pistol, which did not fit “because this pistol was designed for a 21-round magazine”.

He then brandished several more guns, prompting Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas to say, “I hope the gun isn’t loaded.”

“I’m home,” Steube replied. “I can do whatever I want with my weapons.”

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CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.

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