House Passes ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

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The House narrowly approved a bill outlawing the sale of “assault weapons” on Friday, the first time in almost 30 years that lawmakers have passed a measure to reinstate the expired federal ban.

The bill passed with a vote of 217–213, largely along party lines, with Republicans Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Chris Jacobs of New York voting for it. Democrats Henry Cuellar of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas voted against.

The measure, called “Assault Weapons Ban of 2022,” would make it illegal for a person to import, manufacture, sell, or transfer “a semiautomatic assault weapon,” according to the bill’s summary.

Ninety days after the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022, H.R. 1808, is enacted, if it passes the Senate and the president’s desk, it would be “unlawful for any person” to sell, gift, or loan “a grandfathered semiautomatic assault weapon to any other person,” with exceptions, according to the bill.

The bill covers the most popular rifles in the U.S.  — the AR-15 and AK-47. There are tens of millions of those guns already in the hands of Americans, by some estimates.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the vote Friday and said the bill is “a crucial step in our ongoing fight against the deadly epidemic of gun violence in our nation.”

“We know that an assault weapons ban can work because it has worked before,” Pelosi added, apparently referring to the ban passed by Congress in 1994 that expired ten years later. That ban covered weapons manufactured after the date the law went into effect.

The vote comes as Democrats, including President Joe Biden, push for action amid a growing number of mass shootings, including in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where it’s not expected to get 60 votes to bypass the filibuster.

The president called on the Senate to pass the bill, claiming most Americans support the ban.

“The majority of the American people agree with this common sense action. The Senate should move quickly to get this bill to my desk, and I will not stop fighting until it does. There can be no greater responsibility than to do all we can to ensure the safety of our families, our children, our homes, our communities, and our nation,” Biden said in a statement after the House vote.

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