The House Judiciary Committee is holding a markup on Thursday of a wide-ranging package of gun control legislation called the “Protecting Our Kids Act,” as lawmakers face intense pressure to act in the wake of recent mass shootings.
House Democrats are moving to tee up votes on gun bills in the aftermath of a series of horrific shootings that have shocked the nation, including at a Tulsa hospital complex, an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York.
Many of these measures are unlikely to pass the Senate, however, amid widespread GOP opposition to stricter gun control. A bipartisan group of senators is engaging in talks in an attempt to find common ground on gun policy, but it is still unclear what, if anything, will come of the effort.
The “Protecting Out Kids Act,” put forward by Democrats, includes a series of individual bills aimed at preventing gun violence. The measure would raise the legal age to buy certain semiautomatic centerfire rifles from 18 to 21 years old, establish new federal offenses for gun trafficking and for selling large-capacity magazines, and allow local governments to compensate individuals who surrender such magazines through a buyback program. It would create a tax incentive for retail sales of safe storage devices and criminal penalties for breaking new requirements regulating firearm storage on residential premises. The measure would also take steps to strengthen existing federal regulations on bump stocks and ghost guns.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, on Thursday called for the passage of the measures to prevent gun violence, emphasizing a sense of urgency after what happened in Uvalde and Buffalo as well as other incidents.
“We have to enact strong laws to protect our people. And if all these mass shootings don’t do it, I don’t know what will,” he said.
Nadler said that he’s hopeful that this time may be different, but “can’t speak for the Senate.”
“I hope they do the right thing,” he said.
Most legislation requires 60 votes to overcome a filibuster and pass in the Senate and Democrats only control 50 seats. At least 10 Republicans would need to vote with Democrats to pass new gun laws as a result, an unlikely prospect.
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