House Judiciary Committee Republicans are accusing Democrats of acting like grandstanding Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rouke by pursuing emergency gun-control legislation this week.
The said Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler mimicked Mr. O’Rouke, a longshot Democratic contender who grabbed headlines for crashing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s press conference last week and demanding tougher gun laws.
“It’s all for show. @RepJerryNadler is just trying to do his best Beto impersonation,” the House Republican Judiciary Committee members’ Twitter account said after the new gun-control package was announced.
An emergency markup of the bill is scheduled for Thursday, although the House is on a two-week Memorial Day recess.
It’s an early indication that the House Democrats’ first legislative reaction to the horrific school shooting in Texas won’t have bipartisan buy-in and won’t get very far even if it squeaks through the House.
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the committee‘s top Republican, also slammed the Democrats’ gun bills, saying they would not have prevented the recent mass shootings.
“Taking away the guns of law-abiding citizens is never the answer.
Period,” Mr. Jordan wrote on Twitter.
House Democrats named the collection of gun laws the “Protecting Our Kids” bill. The various proposals bills came in the wake of two deadly mass shootings perpetrated by two different 18-year-old gunmen, one in Buffalo, New York, where the shooter, motivated by racial animus, killed 10 people at a grocery store. The other happened early last week in Uvalde, Texas, when the shooter killed 19 children and 2 teachers at an elementary school.
The package includes bills that raise the federal age of purchasing a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21; restrict gun ammunition magazine capacity, though existing magazines are “grandfathered;” require existing bump stocks to be registered under the National Firearms Act and ban the manufacture, sale, or possession of new bump stocks for civilian use.
Another measure in the catch-all legislation would amend the definition of “ghost guns” to mandate background checks on all sales and create new requirements for firearm storage at home – specifically when minors are present.
“Partisan political claptrap,” said Rep. Chip Roy of Texas.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans and Democrats are discussing a possible bipartisan firearms legislation with a focus on “red flag” laws that allow authorities to confiscate guns from people deemed dangerous.
Rep. Thomas Massie, a Judiciary Committee member and co-chair of the Second Amendment Caucus, tweeted: “Democrats say they don’t want to ban all guns. But they do want to take some guns from all people, and all guns from some people. Good luck not being on either of their two lists.”
The Kentucky Republican introduced the “Safe Students Act” that he says “would make it easier for state and local governments and school boards to unambiguously set their own firearms policies.”
Gun rights groups also oppose the Democrats’ bill.
Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, and Dave Workman, communications director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, issued a joint criticizing the Democrats’ legislation.
They called it a “push to trample the Second Amendment and turn a fundamental right into a government-regulated privilege” that “is being bankrolled and energized by billionaire elitists, and tacitly supported by a biased establishment media like never before.”
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, a Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee, urged gun-control advocates to go to Washington and pressure the Senate, which is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans and is where the gun-control legislation is expected to die.
She said the senators will be under tremendous pressure to vote for tougher gun laws.
“I don’t know what the Senate is ultimately going to do, but I knew that we need the leadership of Speaker Pelosi and the Judiciary Committee with the leadership of Chairman Nadler. We’re moving ahead on gun control legislation tomorrow,” she told The Washington Times. “And then the question will be, does the Senate want to be defined in the face of 19 dead bodies of children. How do they want to be defined? We’re going to do our work.”
• Kerry Picket can be reached at email@example.com.
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