- US House passed legislation Friday reviving a ban on certain semi-automatic guns.
- The legislation comes as a significant step in the direction of ensuring gun control in the country.
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed the vote toward passage in the Democratic-run House.
United States gun control: In a one of its kind move, the United States House passed legislation Friday reviving a ban on certain semi-automatic guns, firearms often used in the crush of mass shootings ripping through communities nationwide. Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed the vote toward passage in the Democratic-run House, saying the earlier ban “saved lives.”
The legislation comes as a significant step in the direction of ensuring gun control in the country. President Joe Biden hailed the House vote, saying, “The majority of the American people agree with this common sense action.” He urged the Senate to “move quickly to get this bill to my desk.”
What are semi-automatic guns?
Once banned in the U.S., the high-powered firearms are now widely blamed as the weapon of choice among young men responsible for many of the most devastating mass shootings. But Congress allowed the restrictions first put in place in 1994 on the manufacture and sales of the weapons to expire a decade later, unable to muster the political support to counter the powerful gun lobby and reinstate the weapons ban.
However, it is likely to stall in the 50-50 Senate. The House legislation is shunned by Republicans, who dismissed it as an election-year strategy by Democrats. Almost all Republicans voted against the House bill, which passed 217-213.
Gun violence, shootings across the US
The bill comes at a time of intensifying concerns about gun violence and shootings — the supermarket shooting in Buffalo, N.Y.; massacre of school children in Uvalde, Texas; and the July Fourth shootings of revelers in Highland Park, Ill. Voters seem to be taking such election-year votes seriously as Congress splits along party lines and lawmakers are forced to go on the record with their views. A recent vote to protect same-sex marriages from potential Supreme Court legal challenges won a surprising amount of bipartisan support.
Biden was instrumental in helping secure the first semi-automatic weapons ban as a senator in 1994. The Biden administration said that for 10 years, while the ban was in place, mass shootings declined. “When the ban expired in 2004, mass shootings tripled,” the statement said.
Republicans oppose gun control measures
Republicans stood firmly against limits on ownership of high-powered firearms during an at times emotional debate ahead of voting. “It’s a gun grab, pure and simple,” said Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa. Democrats argued that the ban on weapons makes sense, portraying Republicans as extreme and out of step with Americans.
Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said the weapons ban is not about taking away Americans’ Second Amendment rights but ensuring that children also have the right “to not get shot in school.”
In one exchange, two Ohio lawmakers squared off. “Your freedom stops where mine begins, and that of my constituents begins,” Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur told Republican Rep. Jim Jordan. “Schools, shopping malls, grocery stores, Independence Day parades shouldn’t be scenes of mass carnage and bloodshed.”
(With AP Inputs)