The House approved laws Friday to ban high-powered firearms of the type which were utilized in recent mass shootings across the country, even though it is unlikely to develop into law anytime soon.
The Assault Weapons Ban of 2022 would prohibit the manufacture and sale of certain varieties of semiautomatic rifles, shotguns and pistols, with exceptions for antique guns and certain sporting models.
The bill passed within the House 217-213, with five Democrats voting against it and two Republicans voting in its favor. Loud cheers broke out within the chamber when the laws passed after several hours of debate.
In putting the assault weapons ban up for a vote by itself, House Democrats backtracked on a tentative plan to tie the bill to more controversial police funding laws. The concept had alarmed progressive members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who were concerned that funds can be doled out without proper accountability provisions, as HuffPost previously reported. The police bills will now be considered individually.
Throughout the debate period, Republican after Republican stood up on the House floor and called the bill “unconstitutional,” warning constituents that Democratic lawmakers wanted “to take your guns.” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) suggested it will be higher “to ban Democrat considering in the large cities that’s allowing the crime rates to simply explode.”
The laws wouldn’t affect weapons lawfully obtained before it goes into effect. In america, there are roughly 120.5 guns for each 100 residents, in response to a 2018 study ― and other people keep buying guns. It’s the only country where guns are known to outnumber civilians.
An analogous assault weapons ban was enforce in 1994, under protest from the National Rifle Association and its followers, but it surely was allowed to run out in 2004. Recalling its passage, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday that “it was hard, but it surely happened, and it saved lives.”
There’s debate over the effectiveness of the 1994 ban. Evidence suggests that it was handiest just before it expired, given how its impact was designed to unfold over time by affecting future transactions.
President Joe Biden has repeatedly called on Congress to outlaw assault-style weapons because the nation continues to tally victims of mass shootings. Calls intensified after 19 children and two teachers were killed in late May at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, while a crowd of law enforcement officials hesitated to confront the gunman, who was armed with an AR-15-style weapon ― a sort that might be included within the ban.
The laws, nevertheless, is very unlikely to draw enough support within the Senate to beat that chamber’s filibuster rule, which requires 60 senators to conform to bring a bill to the ground for a final vote. The Senate’s 50 Democrats are unlikely to persuade 10 of their Republican colleagues to conform to hold a vote on a measure their party firmly opposes.
Still, advocates for higher gun control policy see the vote as a likelihood to place every member of Congress on the record on gun violence.
While public opinion polling on guns may be flawed based on how the questions are posed, a robust majority of Americans favor specific gun control policies like background checks and red-flag laws. About 63% of Americans favor a ban on assault-style weapons, in response to a 2021 report from the Pew Research Center.
Lydia O’Connor contributed reporting.