The House passed a bill to ban assault weapons—although just barely—and it will likely be struck down in the Senate.
The Assault Weapons Ban of 2022 passed in a final vote on Friday of 217-213, as Representatives did not vote strictly along party lines. Two Republicans, Chris Jacobs (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) voted for the bill while five Democrats Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Jared Golden (D-Maine), Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) voted against it.
The New York Times predicted the bill would be “doomed” in the Senate, as it is not expected to gain the support of 10 Republicans to overcome a filibuster. The legislation would make it illegal to sell, manufacture, import or possess semi-automatic weapons.
The urgency for gun violence reform laws follows the aftermath of several devastating mass shootings: the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the supermarket shooting in Buffalo, New York, and the July Fourth parade shooting in Highland Park, Illinois.
“When guns are the number one killer of children in America, when more children die from guns than active-duty police and active-duty military combined, we have to act,” President Joe Biden said in a statement following the House passing the legislation. “Today, House Democrats acted by unifying to pass an assault weapons ban to keep weapons of war off our streets, save lives in this country, and reduce crime in our communities.”
Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) asked rhetorically on the House floor: “How many more mass shootings must we endure? When will we learn?”
Citing crime and midterm politics, the House legislation is a no-go for most Republicans and the National Rifle Association who consider the gun violence measures an election-year ploy by Democrats.
Jason Quimet, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, said this bill was “in blatant opposition to the Supreme Court’s rulings” last month, which expanded individual gun rights, allowing for firearms to be carried in public spaces.