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As Survivors Demand Motion, House Passes Gun Bill Doomed within the Senate


WASHINGTON — The House on Wednesday voted nearly along party lines to bar the sale of semiautomatic weapons to people under the age of 21 and ban the sale of large-capacity magazines, acting as traumatized parents of victims and survivors of mass shootings made wrenching appeals for Congress to act on gun violence.

The vote on a sprawling gun package got here two weeks and a day after a gunman massacred 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and several other hours after the parents of considered one of the youngsters killed there and an 11-year-old who survived addressed a House committee to drive home the stakes of the problem.

However it only underscored the intractable politics of gun control in Congress, where all but five Republicans voted against Democrats’ wide-ranging laws, and talks on a compromise remained unresolved.

Though the bill passed 223 to 204, it stands no likelihood within the evenly divided Senate, where solid Republican opposition means it cannot draw the 60 votes needed to interrupt through a filibuster and move forward.

Bipartisan negotiations within the Senate continued on Wednesday amongst a small group of Republicans and Democrats on more modest measures which may even have a likelihood of drawing sufficient backing. But one crucial player, Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, warned that there have been “sticking points in every single place.”

The delicate talks within the Senate and the divided lead to the House were stark reminders of the political obstacles which have thwarted past efforts at gun control on Capitol Hill. They were also a jarring contrast with the raw and urgent entreaties from people traumatized by gun violence that unfolded in a committee room nearby.

“We seek a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines,” Kimberly Rubio, whose 10-year-old daughter, Lexi, was killed in Uvalde last month, told the House Oversight and Reform Committee during a hearing on gun violence. Her voice shaking as she recounted the last time she saw her daughter and the panicked moments before she learned that Lexi was dead, Ms. Rubio used her own fresh pain to call for motion.

“We understand for some reason, to some people — to individuals with money, to individuals who fund political campaigns — that guns are more necessary than children,” she said. “So at this moment, we ask for progress.”

Ms. Rubio, who spoke remotely together with her husband sitting silently weeping by her side, was joined on the hearing by Dr. Roy Guerrero, the only pediatrician within the small town of Uvalde, who testified in tragically graphic detail about what the AR-15 utilized in the massacre had done to the bodies of fourth graders. Appearing in person on Capitol Hill, he railed against lawmakers who’ve didn’t act within the face of a rising tide of gun violence in America.

“We’re bleeding out,” he told the committee, “and also you aren’t there.”

Dr. Guerrero recalled seeing two children within the emergency room “whose bodies had been so pulverized by the bullets fired at them over and yet again, whose flesh had been so ripped apart, that the one clue as to their identities were the blood-spattered cartoon clothes still clinging to them.”

Miah Cerrillo, a fourth grader who survived the carnage by covering herself in a classmate’s blood and pretending to be dead, shared her ordeal in a prerecorded video, scrapping plans to look in person.

“He shot my friend that was next to me,” she said of the gunman, speaking quietly and with little evident emotion. “And I believed he would come back to the room.”

Miah’s father, who appeared on the hearing in person on his daughter’s behalf, exited the hearing room in tears.

The witnesses and Democratic lawmakers who invited them to testify hoped that sharing first-person stories from people still processing the trauma of gun violence would underscore to the general public and to lawmakers on the opposite side of the aisle all that’s at stake, while increasing pressure on Republicans who oppose gun control measures to do something.

“No civilian needs an assault rifle, and the Second Amendment doesn’t protect the fitting to own a weapon of war,” said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of Latest York and the chairwoman of the committee. “It’s time that we ban assault rifles from our streets and houses.”

Zeneta Everhart, whose son Zaire Goodman was injured during a racist gun massacre in Buffalo 10 days before the Uvalde tragedy, said lawmakers who continued to do nothing within the face of mass shootings ought to be voted out.

“Let me paint an image for you: My son Zaire has a hole in the fitting side of his neck, two on his back and one other on his left leg, attributable to an exploding bullet from an AR-15,” she said. “I need you to picture that exact scenario for considered one of your kids. This shouldn’t be your story or mine.”

However the hearing quickly devolved right into a partisan back-and-forth, with Democrats calling for gun control measures and Republicans railing against them. Whilst it was underway, Republican leaders were rallying votes against Democrats’ gun package, circulating guidance that noted that the National Rifle Association can be considering members’ votes in its future candidate rankings and endorsements.

“The bulk goals to make it harder for all law-abiding Americans to guard themselves while failing to deal with the causes behind these mass shootings,” Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the Republican whip, said in an alert that went out to all members of the Republican Conference. He dismissed the bill as “reactionary,” and argued that constitutional rights shouldn’t be depending on age.

And contained in the hearing room, as lawmakers turned to a panel of experts, the visceral emotion of the witnesses personally affected by gun violence quickly gave approach to the familiar rhythm of political point and counterpoint, with little evidence that the testimony had modified the view of even a single Republican.

“Evil deeds don’t transcend constitutional rights,” said Representative Andrew Clyde, Republican of Georgia, arguing that gun-free school zone signs were a part of the issue and that the answer was hardening schools.

“Senseless mass shootings are committed by unstable, disturbed loners with mental disease,” said Representative Pat Fallon, Republican of Texas. “More firearms within the hands of law-abiding residents make us all safer.” He also called for increased security on school campuses.

The hearing and the votes were scheduled after the attacks in Uvalde and Buffalo pushed the problem of gun violence to the forefront in Washington, where years’ price of efforts to enact gun restrictions within the wake of mass shootings have failed amid Republican opposition.

Lower than two weeks before the elementary school shooting in Texas, a gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, killing 10 Black people in considered one of the deadliest racist massacres in recent American history. Each shootings were carried out by 18-year-old gunmen using legally purchased AR-15-style weapons.

Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, said Republican opponents of measures to limit such weapons were advancing a “completely false vision of the Second Amendment.”

“Take responsibility on your irresponsible position,” he thundered at Republicans from across the House floor.

Representative Joaquin Castro, Democrat of Texas, drew on Dr. Guerrero’s testimony, asking his colleagues to “imagine for a second that a shooter with an AR-15 goes into your child’s school” and “leaves a hole the dimensions of a basketball of their chest, or leaves their head decapitated off their body.”

“Ask yourself what you’d ask of the individuals who represent you,” Mr. Castro said. “Would their thoughts and prayers be adequate for you if that happened to your child? Would them being anxious about their primary election be OK with you?”

Republicans said they, too, desired to safeguard children, but restricting guns wouldn’t achieve this.

“The speaker began by saying this bill is about protecting our youngsters,” said Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the highest Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “That is significant — it sure is. But this bill doesn’t do it. What this bill does is take away Second Amendment rights, God-given rights, protected by our Structure, from law-abiding Americans.”

Two Democrats, Representatives Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, joined Republicans in opposing the bill. Five Republicans supported it: Representatives Fred Upton of Michigan, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Chris Jacobs of Latest York, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.

Within the Senate, negotiators were still grasping for a bipartisan deal that would break the stalemate. On Wednesday, a gaggle of Republicans and Democrats at work on a narrow set of gun measures got here together for his or her first in-person meeting.

The group, led by Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, and Mr. Cornyn, is weighing proposals to expand mental health resources, funding for varsity safety and grant money to incentivize states to pass so-called red-flag laws that allow guns to be taken away from dangerous people. Also they are discussing allowing juvenile records to be included in background checks for prospective gun buyers under the age of 21.

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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