House Passes Assault Weapons Ban

The House of Representatives passed the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022 by a vote of 217-213 on Friday, two decades after Congress allowed such restrictions to lapse.

Two Republican lawmakers — Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Chris Jacobs of New York — voted in support of the bill, while 5 Democrats — Henry Cuellar of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas and Kurt Schrader of Oregon voted against the ban.

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the final vote, cheers could be heard in the House chamber.

Pelosi said the ban is “a crucial step in our ongoing fight against the deadly epidemic of gun violence.”

“Our nation has watched in unspeakable horror as assault weapons have been used in massacre after massacre in communities across the country,” she said on the floor during debate on the bill. “And disturbingly, so many of these mass shootings have targeted our precious children, in our schools, at the movies, at the malls and throughout our communities.”

The bill bans the sale, manufacture, transfer, or import of semi-automatic rifles that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one of the following features:

  • pistol grip
  • forward grip
  • folding, telescoping, or detachable stock
  • grenade launcher
  • barrel shroud
  • threaded barrel

The legislation also bans semi-automatic rifles that have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.

The bill does include a list of roughly 2,000 firearms, identified by make and model, that are exempted from the ban. Certain antique rifles and manually operated firearms are also exempt. The legislation does include a grandfather clause for all weapons that are currently in circulation across the country.

Congress passed its first major piece of gun reform in 30 years in June, which enhanced background checks for potential gun buyers under the age of 21 and included money for red flag laws and mental health services. But the measure fell short of what Biden and Democrats hoped to pass.

The Biden administration offered its support for the bill ahead of the House vote.

“40,000 Americans die from gunshot wounds every year and guns have become the top killer of children in the United States,” the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement. “As President Biden has repeatedly called for, we must do more to stop this gun violence and save lives. We know an assault weapons and large-capacity magazine ban will save lives.”

The bill now heads to the Senate, where it is unlikely to gain enough Republican support to meet the 60-vote threshold to overcome the filibuster.

 

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