Jun 09, 2022
Congressmen Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon were the only two House Democrats on Wednesday to vote against a package of gun control measures framed by party leadership as "commonsense measures that will make an enormous difference to save lives."
"Who wouldn't vote to raise the age to take weapons of war out of the hands of teenagers?"
The Protecting Our Kids Act passed the U.S. House in a 223-204 vote, which came after a House panel heard survivors and eye-witnesses to recent mass shootings plead for federal action on gun safety, including the mother of Uvalde, Texas victim "Lexi" Rubio who told lawmakers that "as her voice, we demand action."
The package includes seven provisions, which were also voted on individually. The measures included banning bump stocks, banning high-capacity magazines, raising the age for purchasing semi-automatic rifles--like the AR-15 used in Uvalde--from 18 to 21, and strengthening federal criminal offenses for gun trafficking.
According to The Hill, Golden, who previously called the package "too sweeping," voted against the latter three of those provisions. He additionally rejected ones on "bolstering storage of guns in homes where minors could access the weapons, and requiring that untraceable guns and firearms without serial numbers--known as ghost guns--undergo background checks and receive serial numbers."
Schrader, for his part, also voted against the individual bills on banning high-capacity magazines and the increased age minimum for semi-automatic rifles. Both Golden and Schrader voted against the total legislative package.
"Who wouldn't vote to raise the age from 18 to 21 for a person to have a weapon of war?" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in her remarks on the House floor ahead of the vote.
"Who wouldn't vote to raise the age to take weapons of war out of the hands of teenagers?" Pelosi continued. "Who wouldn't vote to get illegal guns off our streets by cracking down gun trafficking, which is a danger to people but also to law enforcement? Who wouldn't vote for background checks on ghost gun purchases, which our law enforcement tells us is a major concern out there? Who wouldn't vote to protect children from stolen weapons or accidental shootings with safe storage requirements?"
Five Republicans voted yes on the total package: Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), Chris Jacobs (N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), and Fred Upton (R-Mich.). As such, they ran afoul of the directive from House GOP leadership, which stressed to its members the National Rifle Association's opposition and their jeopardizing future endorsements from the gun group.
The legislative package's success in the Senate, however, is likely doomed given the filibuster and Republicans' stiff opposition to gun safety legislation.
"As this bill heads to the Senate, the entire country is watching," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. "Will Senate Republicans finally join with Democrats to prevent further mass slaughter of our constituents, or will they remain beholden to the gun lobby and moneyed interests that would allow the devastation on our streets to continue?"
"After Buffalo, Tree of Life, and El Paso, after Uvalde and Sandy Hook, after Pulse and Aurora and Columbine, will they finally heed the calls of the majority of Americans from across the political spectrum and act?" asked Jayapal. "Or will they simply throw up their hands and allow the carnage to continue?"
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