The House passed an assault weapons ban Friday evening looking to give Democrats a last-minute win on their way out the door for August recess.
Five Democrats voted against the measure – Reps. Kurt Schrader, Ore., Vicente Gonzalez, Texas, Rep. Jared Golden, Maine and Rep. Ron Kind, R-Wisc.
Two Republicans voted for the measure – Reps. Chris Jacobs, N.Y., and Brian Fitzpatrick, Pa.
The ban cleared a procedural hurdle that allowed the House to move forward with expedited debate on Friday afternoon, with a final vote expected to follow. Three Democrats – Reps. Vicente Gonzalez, Texas, Jared Golden, Maine, and Kurt Schrader, Ore., voted ‘no’ with all Republicans, but the resolution passed 217 -211.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi meanwhile broke out a floor sign advertising AR-15s for children as she urged members to vote in favor of the ban.
‘JR 15: Get ’em one like yours,’ the ad reads, along with a photo of a child-sized AR-15.
‘Our goal was to develop a shooting platform that was not only sized correctly, and safe, but also looks, feels and operates just like mom and dad’s gun,’ the ad continues.
The weapons manufacturer Wee 1 Tactics unveiled the ‘JR-15’ in January.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., expressed support for the child’s semi-automatic weapon on Twitter.
‘The kids at Uvalde needed JR-15s to defend themselves from the evil maniac that didn’t care about laws. At least they could have defended themselves since no one else did, while their parents were held back by police,’ she wrote in response to Pelosi’s floor chart.
The House had passed a resolution Friday morning allowing same-day authority, so that leadership can fast-track key priorities. The chamber approved the resolution that will allow a same-day vote on the ban 218-206. Golden and Schrader were the only Democrats to vote against the resolution.
Golden, who represents a red-leaning district, previously said he would not vote for a ban on semi-automatic weapons. ‘I don’t support any version of that.’
Schrader, who lost his Democratic primary to a progressive and won’t be returning to Congress, called an assault weapons ban a ‘death wish’ for Democrats.
‘This is a bill that destroyed the in ’94. I guess, do we really have a death wish list as Democrats?’ he told Politico last week.
The bill is unlikely to go anywhere in the Senate.
The House Judiciary Committee advanced the assault weapons ban last week, the first time in over 20 years a congressional panel had advanced legislation to outlaw the possession, sale and transfer of assault weapons. Congress enacted an assault weapons ban in 1994 which expired a decade later.
Democrats had initially planned to move on the assault weapons ban and community safety legislation in tandem, but have now punted a police funding bill down the line. Progressives, particularly those in the Congressional Black Caucus, had voiced concerns about police funding legislation that did not have guardrails to steer law enforcement toward more humane behavior.
Pelosi said the House will now pass the community safety bill when lawmakers return in the second week of August.
Congress passed its first major gun reform in 30 years in June, enhancing background checks for potential gun buyers under the age of 21 and increasing funding to encourage states to enact red flag laws and mental health services.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi broke out a floor sign advertising AR-15s for children as she urged members to vote in favor of the ban
A sign advocating for an assault weapons ban hangs in front of a King Soopers grocery store where 10 people died in a mass shooting in late March
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, Fla., talks with GOP Rep. Mike Johnson, La., during a House Judiciary hearing on an assault weapons ban
A visual aid behind Committee Chairman Representative Jerry Nadler during the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on an assault weapons ban
The bill, which garnered bipartisan support, fell short of what Biden and Democrats have been pushing for, and last Wednesday’s Judiciary hearing got heated as chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney demanded gun manufacturers apologize for mass shootings.
Maloney asked Marty Daniel, CEO of arms manufacturer Daniel Defense, how many more children need to die for his company to stop selling assault-style weapons. ‘I believe that these murders are local problems that have to be solved locally,’ Daniel said.
‘Is there any number of shootings in schools that would convince you to stop selling weapons of war to civilians?’ Maloney asked Christopher Killoy of Ruger.
‘Respectfully, Congresswoman, I don’t consider the modern sporting rifles that my company produces to be weapons of war,’ he said, ‘and like all Americans I grieve when we read about these tragic incidents.’
Republicans on the panel objected to Maloney’s line of questioning, with Rep. Jody Hice, Ga., saying that blaming gun manufacturers for gun violence was like blaming spoon and fork makers.
Republican Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana suggested that legislation banning assault-style rifles could result in violence between gun owners and law enforcement agencies who try to confiscate their guns from their homes.
‘When those gun fights happen, that blood will be on your hands,’ said Higgins, addressing the Democratic members of the committee.
Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia tore into Higgin’s prediction, yelling, ‘We will not be threatened with violence and bloodshed because we want reasonable gun control!’