In the aftermath of the mass shootings this month in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee will meet in early September to act on a series of gun control measures, including ten round limits on ammunition magazines, red flag laws, and adding new reasons for blocking someone from buying a firearm.
"For far too long, politicians in Washington have only offered thoughts and prayers in the wake of gun violence tragedies," said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
"Democrats in the House will continue to make good on our promise to work to keep our communities safe," Nadler added, trying to put more pressure on Senate Republicans to act on gun bills approved by the House.
"House Democrats are serious about protecting our communities from the epidemic of gun violence," said Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV).
"All of these gun violence prevention bills would save lives, and it’s really important that the House is taking action," said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA).
Today, @HouseJudiciary announced we’ll markup gun violence prevention bills on 9/4, incl. two bills I helped introduced:— Rep. Ted Deutch (@RepTedDeutch) August 16, 2019
Keep Americans Safe Act to ban high-capacity magazines
Extreme Risk Protection Order Act to encourage states to adopt red flag laws.https://t.co/hh8PQy0wCo
.@HouseJudiciary makes it official: They will return to DC on Sept. 4 at 10 a.m. to markup gun bills banning high capacity ammunition magazines; instituting red flags and anti-hate legislation.— Rachael Bade (@rachaelmbade) August 16, 2019
The panel will hold a hearing on an assault weapons ban later in the month
.@HouseJudiciary refuses to sit idly by as more communities are devastated by gun violence. On Sept. 4, the Committee will come back into session to take up a series of bills to combat the gun violence epidemic that has gripped our nation. Read more here: https://t.co/RPoBR0INzV— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) August 16, 2019
"We must act now to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country and keep our kids safe," said freshman Rep. Joe Negeuse (D-CO).
Democrats also tried to turn up the heat on GOP leaders in the Senate, where a bill to expand background checks to all private gun sales has been languishing for months.
"The Majority Leader should call the Senate back to Washington to debate and vote on gun violence legislation," said Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA).
Some Democrats also want to force a vote on banning certain assault weapons - Congress approved such a measure back in 1994, but the expired after ten years.
The Dayton gunman fired 41 bullets, hitting 26 people in ONLY 32 seconds. A weapon that can inflict carnage that quickly is designed for war, not our streets. We need to reinstate an assault weapons ban before more lives are lost to senseless violence.— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) August 15, 2019
While the Congress isn't back for votes until the week of September 9, the announcement by the House Judiciary Committee will bring lawmakers back just after Labor Day for committee work - with the goal of votes on the various gun bills in the House later that month.
"Our community is relying on us to pass gun safety legislation, which is why we need a federal red flag policy to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people," said Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA).
Some Republicans quickly made clear their opposition to some of the gun plans from Democrats.
"The problem with Red Flag laws is you’re guilty until proven innocent," said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
President Donald Trump has held talks with some Democrats on the issue of expanding background checks, but his language at a campaign rally on Thursday night in Manchester, New Hampshire did not signal any compromise on guns, as he focused more on the issue of mental health.
“It's not the gun that pulls the trigger. It's the person holding the gun,” the President said.
The bills on the schedule in September before the House Judiciary Committee include:
+ H.R. 1186, the Keep Americans Safe Act. This bill would ban high capacity ammunition magazines.
+ H.R. 1236, the Extreme Risk Protector Order Act, designed to help states formulate 'Red Flag' laws.
+ H.R. 3076, the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, which would allow people to go into federal court to take a firearm away from a mentally unstable person.
H.R. 2708, the Disarm Hate Act, which would add misdemeanor hate crimes to the list of items disqualifying someone from buying a weapon, under the current background check system.
H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act, which stems from the mass shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. In that case, the shooter was able to buy his firearms - even though he would have failed the background check - because the feds did not conduct a check within three business days.
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