After the latest mass shootings, a House panel approves new gun bills

Washington -- The House Judiciary Committee presented a set of bills Thursday to harden the nation’s gun laws.

After the latest mass shootings, a House panel approves new gun bills

Washington -- The House Judiciary Committee presented a set of bills Thursday to harden the nation’s gun laws. This was the first legislative action as lawmakers seek a legislative solution for the two mass shootings that occurred in the span of ten days that shocked the nation.

The "Protecting Our Kids Act" was passed by the Democratic-led panel in a 25-to-19 vote. The full House will likely take action next week. However, the Senate has a much lower chance of passing the legislation, as Democrats and Republicans control 50 seats each and bills need 60 votes to pass.

This week, a bipartisan group made up of senators met to discuss ways to reduce gun violence. Some participants expressed optimism about finding common ground and gaining support from both Republicans and Democrats.

Democrats in Congress insist that they must respond quickly to the latest mass shootings. The House Judiciary Committee interrupted its two-week congressional recess in order to make the first legislative attempt following the horrific massacre at a Uvalde elementary school, Texas. It left behind 19 students and two teachers.

Ten days earlier, a racist gunman shot and killed 10 people at a Buffalo grocery store. Four people were shot to death at an Oklahoma medical center on the eve the Judiciary Committee hearing.

The House panel has presented eight bills to amend the legislation. These include plans to raise the semiautomatic rifle purchasing age from 18 to 21, ban large-capacity magazines, incentivize safe firearm storage, and create requirements for regulating gun storage on residential premises.

"You claim it's too early to take action?" We are politicizing tragedies in order to pass new policies. 23 years have passed since Columbine. 15 years ago was Virginia Tech. 10 years has passed since Sandy Hook. Seven years have passed since Charleston. Four years has passed since Parkland, Santa Fe, and the Tree of Life Synagogue, Pittsburgh. It's been three years since El Paso and it has been a week now since we discovered that gun violence can affect any of our grandchildren and children at any time and that there are no armed guards that can protect them. It's been 24 hours since the last mass killing, and it will be a while before the next one," stated Jerry Nadler (a New York Democrat Chairman of the Judiciary Committee).

"Too soon?" He continued. "My friend, what are you doing?

Ohio's top Republican, Jim Jordan, criticised Democrats for hurrying to adopt the package. He called it "regretful and an act of political theater."

He stated that protecting children is not a Republican issue or Democrat issue. "This is not an attempt to find real solutions, in my opinion."

The hearing was fraught with emotions, highlighting the fierce partisan divisions over gun control and the difficulties Congress has faced in previous unsuccessful attempts to pass gun violence legislation.

Florida Republican Rep. Greg Steube appeared remotely to demonstrate his many handguns. He argued that these firearms should be banned by Democrats because they have magazine capacities. Rep. Lucy McBath (a Georgia Democrat) recalled the 2012 death of her 17-year old son to gun violence and asked, "Does the United States have the God-given right to be free from the scourge, of gun violence and of senseless suffering, and of death and despair?"

Democrats blame Republicans for not feeling the urgency to protect young people's lives. Republicans accuse Democrats of wanting to remove Americans' Second Amendment rights.

"There is a will to rush through this package, and the answer is that we don't have patience for you if your objections are raised. Republicans are complicit, according to Dan Bishop, a GOP Representative from North Carolina. "I can tell ya this, and let me make it clear: You're not going to try to force Americans away from their fundamental rights.

Democratic Rep. Madeleine Dean from Pennsylvania said: "I am stunned by some words that we are hearing on the other end of the aisle. Is there any outrage at the killing of 19 fourth-graders and their teachers? They don't feel the urgency to act.

Democrats support plans to make it harder to acquire firearms and limit access to high-capacity magazines. Republicans, however, believe that efforts should be focused more on improving mental health resources and schools' security, as well as increasing the number of school resource officers.

President Biden has meanwhile repeatedly asked Congress to send to him legislation that has stalled in Senate to strengthen background checks. He has also asked lawmakers to reinstate the assault weapons ban which was repealed in 2004.

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