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House committee approves first assault weapons ban in decades

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The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday introduced a bill banning assault weapons, but it’s unclear whether the legislation has enough support to pass a ground vote.

Democratic Representatives Jared Golden, D-Maine and Henry Cuellar, D-Texas have said they will not support the bill, while Republican Representatives Chris Jacobs, RN.Y., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., have said they will. are open to voting for a ban, according to The Hill. House Democrats have a margin of four votes.

The 2021 assault weapons ban was advanced by a vote of 25-18, but a date for a vote on the House floor has not yet been set.

“As we’ve learned all too well in recent years, assault weapons — especially when paired with high-capacity magazines — are the weapon of choice for mass shootings,” said committee chair Jerry Nadler, DN.Y., during the drafting of the report. bill. “These military-style weapons are designed to kill the most people in the shortest possible time. There simply is no place for them on our streets.”

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Assault rifles hang on display at a gun store in Dallas, Texas, Sept. 13, 2004.
(REUTERS/Jeff Mitchell JM)

Ranking member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, argued that the bill would take away the rights of sincere gun owners.

“Democrats know that this legislation will not reduce violent crime or reduce the likelihood of mass shootings, but they are obsessed with attacking Americans’ law-abiding Second Amendment freedoms,” he said.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said, “They’re coming to get your guns.”

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AR-15 rifles go up for sale at the Guntoberfest pistol show in Oaks, Pennsylvania, on October 6, 2017.

AR-15 rifles go up for sale at the Guntoberfest pistol show in Oaks, Pennsylvania, on October 6, 2017.
(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File photo)

The bill would make it a crime to “import, sell, manufacture, transfer or possess a semi-automatic assault weapon (SAW) or large-capacity ammunition supply device,” according to the bill’s summary. Some exceptions would be made.

It would not include a “firearm that is (1) manually operated by means of a bolt, pump, lever or sliding motion; (2) permanently inoperable; (3) an antique; or (4) a rifle or shotgun specifically identified by make and model.”

The bill was first introduced in March last year.

Chairman Jerry Nadler, DN.Y., looks on during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on July 14, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Chairman Jerry Nadler, DN.Y., looks on during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on July 14, 2022 in Washington, DC.
(Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

The legislation comes on the heels of the most sweeping gun control bill passed by the Senate in 30 years after a series of mass shootings, including a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 students and two teachers.

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have also called for a ban on assault weapons.

“Assault weapons should be banned,” Biden said at the White House last week as he celebrated the signing of the bipartisan gun law. “They were banned. I led the fight in 1994. And then under pressure from the NRA and the weapons manufacturers and others, that ban was lifted in 2004. In those 10 years it was law, mass shootings were committed.”

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Former President Bill Clinton signed a ban on assault weapons in 1994, which expired in 2004.

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