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House Democrats look to pass gun control laws by early June

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Activists listen as Senate Democrats speak during a news conference demanding motion on gun control laws after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in a Texas elementary school this week, on Capitol Hill on Thursday, May 26, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images

House Democrats will attempt to advance a raft of gun control bills on Thursday within the wake of two high-profile mass shootings that rocked the nation earlier this month.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., has called committee lawmakers back from a break to mark up gun laws that mixes eight separate bills. Nadler intends to bring a collection of latest gun safety laws to the House floor “as soon as possible,” a spokesman said, in light of shootings in Texas and Latest York state.

The more moderen and deadlier attack occurred last Tuesday, when an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. That massacre got here just 10 days after one other teenager shot and killed 10 shoppers at a supermarket in a racist rampage in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, Latest York.

The Democratic-led package will likely fail within the face of Republican opposition within the Senate. Nevertheless, Democrats have acknowledged a hope — nevertheless slim — that bipartisan talks amongst senators can result in lawmakers passing a more limited bill with support from each parties.

Nadler’s spokesman confirmed the list of bills the House Judiciary Committee will consider under the broader “Protecting Our Kids Act.” They include:

  • The Raise the Age Act
  • Prevent Gun Trafficking Act
  • The Untraceable Firearms Act
  • Ethan’s Law
  • The Protected Guns, Protected Kids Act
  • The Kimberly Vaughan Firearm Safety Storage Act
  • Closing the Bump Stock Loophole Act
  • The Keep Americans Protected Act

The combined laws would introduce a variety of regulations on the sale or use of firearms and associated equipment.

The Raise the Age Act would lift the purchasing age for semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21, while the Keep Americans Protected Act would outlaw the import, sale, manufacture, transfer or possession of a large-capacity magazine.

Ethan’s Law would create latest requirements for storing guns at homes, especially those with children, and supply tax credits for secure storage devices.

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While it’s unclear when the omnibus will arrive on the House floor, Nadler’s move to reconvene the committee early signals that House leadership desires to vote on the laws soon after lawmakers return from break next week, while Democrats still have momentum behind them.

Also unclear is whether or not House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her deputy, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., wish to vote on a single massive bill or break it into its several components and try and pass parts piecemeal.

Republican opposition to the package is a more certain proposition.

Senate Republicans have for years blocked progress on any gun safety laws. They opposed efforts to tighten gun regulations each once they held the bulk, and even now once they can threaten an indefinite filibuster if Democrats cannot provide you with the 60 votes required to avoid the stalling tactic.

GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas took to Twitter 4 days after the massacre in his state to say that “taking guns away from responsible, law-abiding Americans is not going to make our nation safer.”

“It’s much easier to scream about guns than it’s to demand answer about where our culture is failing,” Cruz added in a separate social media post on Saturday.

Anti-gun demonstrators protest outside the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting on the George R. Brown Convention Center, on May 27, 2022, in Houston, Texas.

Cecile Clocheret | AFP | Getty Images

Disapproval from Cruz and other Senate Republicans will likely doom any laws Nadler and other House Democrats manage to pass. But that may not prone to deter Pelosi, who on Wednesday acknowledged the long odds any gun control laws faces within the Senate.

“We pray that the bipartisan conversations unfolding within the Senate at once will reach agreement on laws that may save lives and might be acted upon soon,” she wrote in a letter to fellow Democrats.

“On multiple occasions, the Democratic House has passed strong, commonsense gun-violence prevention laws,” she added. “As we have now promised many times to the courageous survivors of gun violence, we’ll never stop until the job is completed.”

For his part, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said he wants the nation to observe as Senate Republicans vote down gun control laws. He said he’s open to holding votes on bills even in the event that they are virtually guaranteed to fail.

Schumer has also encouraged bipartisan backdoor gun laws talks led by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. He’s working with Republicans including Sens. Pat Toomey, Susan Collins and Rob Portman, who’ve been open to more modest firearm regulations.

Still, probabilities of any gun control reforms — large or small — appeared low Tuesday following comments from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Asked in Kentucky for an update on the bipartisan talks, McConnell said the essential problem behind the shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde was mental illness, implying that Republicans could be open to laws to handle psychological services.

Democrats dispute the claim that lawmakers need to focus on mental illness more so than the provision of guns to scale back shooting violence within the U.S. They are saying that similar rates of mental illness in other developed nations across the globe prove that mental illness alone cannot fully explain the prevalence of mass shootings within the U.S.

McConnell said Senate talks on laws designed to scale back school shootings are ongoing.

“Yeah, we’re doing it, we had a gaggle led by Senator Cornyn and Senator Murphy on the Democratic side, discussing how we’d have the option to come back together to goal the issue, which is mental illness, and college safety,” McConnell said. “We’ll get back at it next week and hope to have some results.”

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