Jul 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

House passes assault weapons ban

Gun control activists rally near the U.S. Capitol calling for a federal ban on assault weapons on July 13, 2022
Gun control activists rally near the U.S. Capitol calling for a federal ban on assault weapons on July 13. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The House on Friday passed a ban on assault weapons, 217-213, a largely symbolic step as the measure is all but certain to fail in the Senate.

Why it matters: The legislation comes after a spate of mass shootings in the past few months. Friday marks the first House vote on an assault weapons ban in nearly three decades.

  • Five Democrats voted against the bill, and two Republicans voted to support the ban.
  • The Democrats are Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), Jared Golden (D-Maine) and Ron Kind (D-Wisc.).
  • The Republicans are Chris Jacobs (R-N.Y.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.). Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) did not vote.

Driving the news: The bill, which does not call for the removal or confiscation of any covered weapon that any American currently owns, would "ban the sale, import, manufacture or transfer of certain semi-automatic weapons."

State of play: Democrats had initially planned to vote on the assault weapons ban and a package of policing legislation together but moved to delay those votes to next month amid internal disagreements about the language of the policing bill, the Washington Post reports.

  • Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday announced that House Democrats would vote separately on the two packages, with negotiations on the policing legislation continuing into next month, Punchbowl News reports.
  • "Today, our Democratic Majority will take up and pass the Assault Weapons Ban legislation: a crucial step in our ongoing fight against the deadly epidemic of gun violence in our nation," Pelosi said Friday in announcing the vote.

Earlier this month, the House passed a separate bill to create an active shooter alert network.

What they're saying: "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," President Joe Biden said in a statement on Friday. "The majority of the American people agree with this common sense action."

Go deeper... House to take up assault weapons ban next week

Andrew Solender contributed to this story.

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