House passes bill to ban so-called ‘assault weapons’

The House of Representatives voted Friday to pass a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” though the legislation has virtually no chance of making it through the Senate.

The bill passed in a 217-213, largely party-line vote.

“Two Republicans, Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., and Chris Jacobs, R-N.Y., broke with their party to vote yes on the bill,” Fox News reported. “Five Democrats, Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas; Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Oreg., and Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wisc. broke with their party to vote no.”

So what, exactly, would the legislation do? According to the measure’s official summary:

“This bill makes it a crime to knowingly import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) or large capacity ammunition feeding device (LCAFD).”

Speaking on the House floor Friday, Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed the bill is necessary to prevent gnu violence.

“Our nation has watched in unspeakable horror as assault weapons have been used in massacre after massacre in communities across the country. And disturbingly, so many of these mass shootings have targeted our precious children,” she said.

“In their schools, at the movies, at the malls and throughout our communities. That is why I rise today in strong support in reinstating the assault weapons ban, a long-overdue step to get deadly weapons off our streets.”

Similarly, President Joe Biden said the measure would “keep weapons of war off our streets.”

“Today, House Democrats acted by unifying to pass an assault weapons ban to keep weapons of war off our streets, save lives in this country, and reduce crime in our communities,” he said in a statement.

“The Senate should move quickly to get this bill to my desk, and I will not stop fighting until it does. There can be no greater responsibility than to do all we can to ensure the safety of our families, our children, our homes, our communities, and our nation.”

But the National Rifle Association called the bill “blatantly unconstitutional.”

“It would provide no appreciable benefit to public safety, while directly infringing on the rights of law-abiding Americans. Its most predictable effect would be to put the law on the side of predatory criminals and against ordinary people peaceably trying to live their lives,” the NRA said.

It’s highly unlikely that the bill will move forward in the Senate, where it would need 60 senators’ support to break the filibuster.