House Judiciary Committee Debates Gun Control Legislation

From left, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., confer as the House Judiciary Committee holds an emergency meeting to advance a series of Democratic gun control measures, called the Protecting Our Kids Act, in response to mass shootings in Texas and New York, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 2, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

From left, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., confer as the House Judiciary Committee holds an emergency meeting to advance a series of Democratic gun control measures, called the Protecting Our Kids Act, in response to mass shootings in Texas and New York, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 2, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on legislation seeking to further gun control in the wake of several mass shootings across the nation. On Thursday, the Democrat-led House panel met for an emergency session to discuss a package of measures called the Protecting Our Kids Act.

Despite Republican lawmakers concerns that Democrats are politicizing mass shootings, committee chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) emphasized lawmakers must act swiftly.

“You say it’s too soon to take action, that we are politicizing these tragedies to enact new policies,” he stated. “It has been 23 years since Columbine, 15 years since Virginia Tech, 10 years since Sandy Hook, seven years since Charleston, four years since Parkland and Santa Fe and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. It has been three years since El Paso. It has been a week since we learned again that gun violence can reach any of our children and grandchildren at anytime.”

Republicans on the panel argued it’s too soon. Specifically, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) emphasized protecting children is not a Republican or Democrat issue.

Meanwhile, GOP congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) called consideration of gun control legislation at this time “irresponsible.” He also said Democrats “have no idea” if the bill they are pushing would actually be effective.

“It is reflexive and it is irresponsible to consider bills while we’re still trying to figure out what happened in some of these circumstances that you suggest animated the need for this hearing,” said the Florida Republican. “The chairman referenced Uvalde in the first moments of this hearing, but yet we’re still deciphering key elements of the law enforcement response of the physical plant of points of intrusion.”

The legislation would raise the aged for buying a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21-years-old and allow states to crack down on gun trafficking. It would also ban high-capacity ammunition magazines and the sale of ghost gun kits as well as require a firearms safe storage.

In the meantime, as the debate in the House continues, the legislation faces a tougher path in the Senate as the bill will need at least 10 Republican votes in the upper chamber to move forward.

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