The House passed a controversial “assault weapons” ban on Friday just before their summer recess and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s publicity trip to the Pacific region and Taiwan. The bill made it through by the narrowest of margins, thanks to two Republican members who went along with 215 Democrats. The bill now advances to the Senate, where it has virtually no chance of passage.
The “Assault Weapons Ban of 2022” passed in the House by a 217-213 vote, with five Democrats voting against the measure.
The bill is designed to ban the manufacture, sale, import, or transfer of “semiautomatic assault weapons.” It excludes rifles that are already owned, are antiques, or are part of classes of permitted hunting and sporting weapons. The bill would not apply to the military, law enforcement, or retired law enforcement officers.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) expressed the sentiment of almost every House Republican, saying the bill will not make communities safer because it takes constitutionally protected weapons away from civilians who use them for self-defense.
Among House Democrats, Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Jared Golden (D-ME), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Ron Kind (D-WI), and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) voted against the bill.
Golden has consistently voted against gun control measures in the past, including a bill that would have created a national “red-flag” law and that would have raised the minimum age to purchase a semiautomatic firearm to 21.
Cuellar said during the debate on the bill that he does not “believe in bans on weapons.”
Schrader said that the bill is the same measure that “destroyed the Democrats in ‘94.” He asked rhetorically, “Do we really have a death wish list as Democrats?”
The two GOP members who allowed the bill to pass were Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Chris Jacobs (R-NY). Without both of their votes, the bill would have failed on the House floor.
Jacobs issued a statement claiming that he supports the Second Amendment, despite his vote. He said that he is not in favor of “easy access to high-powered semiautomatic weapons” although his vote was for an outright ban.
Jacobs is not running for re-election.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will have to get 10 Republicans to support the bill along with all 50 Democrat senators to override the legislative filibuster rule. It is expected that Republican opposition in the Senate will be nearly unanimous.