House Assault Weapons Ban to Be Shot Down in the Senate

House Assault Weapons Ban to Be Shot Down in the Senate

It’s virtually certain that the legislation does not have enough votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster

The House of Representatives voted Friday, in a narrow 217-213 vote, to pass the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022, a bill that would ban assault-style weapons. According to the Hill, the bill would ban “the sale, manufacture, transfer or import of various semi-automatic assault weapons, semi-automatic pistols and semi-automatic shotguns, depending on their features.”

Per CNN, it was not a complete party-line vote, as five Democrats—Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Jared Golden (D-ME), Ron Kind (D-WI), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), and Kurt Schrader (D-OR)—voted no on the bill, while Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Chris Jacobs (R-NY) voted yes.

“Today, our Democratic Majority will take up and pass the Assault Weapons Ban legislation: a crucial step in our ongoing fight against the deadly epidemic of gun violence in our nation,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wrote in a letter to her caucus before the vote.

It has been the official policy of the Biden administration to pursue the return of the assault weapons ban, with Vice President Kamala Harris calling for such a ban as recently as early July.

However, it’s virtually certain that the legislation does not have enough votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, meaning that the ban does not have much of a shot at passing.

The current Congress did pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which followed the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. That bill included extended background checks for those under twenty-one, funding for state-level “Red Flag” laws, and the closure of what is known as the “boyfriend loophole.”

When President Biden signed that law in June, it represented the first major piece of gun legislation to be signed into law since the original assault weapons ban in 1994. The ban passed as part of that year’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, also known as the 1994 Crime Bill, which was written by then-Senator Biden. That ban expired in 2004 and has not been renewed since.

Pro-gun groups assailed the legislation. The NSSF, the firearm industry trade association, was one such group.

“This legislation is as dangerous as it is revealing of the contempt that the House Democrats hold for the Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court,” Lawrence G. Keane, the NSSF’s senior vice president and general counsel, said in a statement after the vote.

 “Chairman Jerrold Nadler admitted during debate in his committee that he didn’t care the legislation was unconstitutional and defied Supreme Court precedent. Democratic representatives are not fulfilling the interest of ‘the People,’ instead representing special-interest gun control groups that seek to disarm law-abiding citizens and scapegoat them for crimes committed by others,” Keane claimed.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters.