House passes measure to ban assault-style weapons in 217-213 vote

In a narrow 217-213 vote, the Democrat-led U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed a reinstatement of a ban on assault weapons that lapsed 18 years ago, doing so on an almost entirely party line basis in the wake of a series of headline-grabbing mass shootings, as the Washington Examiner reports.

Fox News noted that the so-called Assault Weapons Ban of 2022 would prohibit the knowing import, sale, manufacture, transfer or possessions of any “semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) or large capacity ammunition feeding device (LCAFD).”

As The Hill reported, a few lawmakers took their votes across the aisle regarding the measure, with Republican Reps. Chris Jacobs of New York and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania favoring its passage, while Democrat Reps. Henry Cuellar (TX), Jared Golden (ME), Vicente Gonzalez (TX), Kurt Schrader (OR), and Ron Kind (WI) opposed.

During debate on the measure, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) argued vigorously against its passage, saying, “Here’s the fact: This bill is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court made clear that it protects firearms in common use. This bill has eight pages of weapons, firearms that it bans, including 24 million firearms that American citizens lawfully possess today. That is the fact.”

“Democrats tried this ban before. It didn’t work. It won’t work now. And do you know what it will do? It’ll make communities, I think less safe,” Jordan added.

Unsurprisingly, President Joe Biden has expressed his hope that the provisions would achieve passage in the Senate, suggesting, according to Fox News, that most Americans approve of what he referred to as the “common sense action” approved in the House.

“The Senate should move quickly to get this bill to my desk, and I will not stop fighting until it does,” Biden said. “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.”

Despite the president’s stated wishes, however, the bill has virtually no chance of securing passage in the Senate, due to the existence of substantial opposition from Republicans, as The Hill noted.

The last time an assault weapons ban such as the one passed by the House was enacted was in 1994, during the tenure of former President Bill Clinton, and once it expired a decade later, Democrats have failed to garner the votes necessary to approve similar legislation.