U.S. House committee advances gun control bills along party lines

gun show
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
gun show
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House Judiciary Committee committee advanced three gun safety bills on Tuesday despite unified Republican opposition.

The committee voted along partisan lines to approve “red flag” legislation that seeks to limit access to firearms for those deemed a risk to themselves or others. The committee also voted to advance legislation that would ban high-capacity magazines, and another measure to prohibit people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from possessing firearms.

Nevada Democratic Rep. Dina Titus, an initial sponsor of the high-capacity magazines legislation, issued a joint statement Wednesday with other sponsors saying the committee votes “make clear that Democrats are serious about advancing the kind of common-sense gun safety measures the American people are demanding, including our bill to ban high-capacity magazines like the one used by the shooter in Dayton to murder nine people in just 32 seconds.”

“There is no doubt,” that the full House will pass the three bills, the statement said. “And there’s also no doubt that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will try to bury them in his legislative graveyard as soon as they’re sent to the Senate.”

Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto also issued a statement noting passage of the the legislation banning high capacity magazines, and calling on McConnell to move forward with companion legislation introduced in the Senate. Cortez Masto is a co-sponsor of that legislation.

“America’s epidemic of mass shootings must be addressed. I’m proud to sponsor legislation with my colleagues that will outlaw high capacity magazines that fire dozens of rounds in a matter of seconds,” Cortez Masto said. “My hometown of Las Vegas was the site of the worst mass shooting in American history, and I will keep fighting for commonsense gun violence prevention legislation that saves lives and keeps our citizens and law enforcement safer.”

Democrats said they don’t expect any single piece of legislation to fix the problem, but they pointed to these bills and background check legislation that the House passed in February as important efforts to curb gun violence. 

President Trump as well as some Republicans in the House and Senate have indicated that they may also be willing to back gun control reforms, but Tuesday night’s vote offers the latest indication that bipartisan compromise on the historically polarizing issue won’t come easily. 

Robin Bravender
Robin Bravender is the Washington, D.C., bureau chief for The Newsroom, a network of state-based non-profit news outlets that includes Nevada Current.

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