In the aftermath of the mass shootings this month in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee will meet in early September to act on a series of gun control measures, including ten round limits on ammunition magazines, red flag laws, and adding new reasons for blocking someone from buying a firearm.
"For far too long, politicians in Washington have only offered thoughts and prayers in the wake of gun violence tragedies," said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
"Democrats in the House will continue to make good on our promise to work to keep our communities safe," Nadler added, trying to put more pressure on Senate Republicans to act on gun bills approved by the House.
"House Democrats are serious about protecting our communities from the epidemic of gun violence," said Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV).
"All of these gun violence prevention bills would save lives, and it’s really important that the House is taking action," said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA).
"We must act now to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country and keep our kids safe," said freshman Rep. Joe Negeuse (D-CO).
Democrats also tried to turn up the heat on GOP leaders in the Senate, where a bill to expand background checks to all private gun sales has been languishing for months.
"The Majority Leader should call the Senate back to Washington to debate and vote on gun violence legislation," said Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA).
Some Democrats also want to force a vote on banning certain assault weapons - Congress approved such a measure back in 1994, but the expired after ten years.
While the Congress isn't back for votes until the week of September 9, the announcement by the House Judiciary Committee will bring lawmakers back just after Labor Day for committee work - with the goal of votes on the various gun bills in the House later that month.
"Our community is relying on us to pass gun safety legislation, which is why we need a federal red flag policy to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people," said Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA).
Some Republicans quickly made clear their opposition to some of the gun plans from Democrats.
"The problem with Red Flag laws is you’re guilty until proven innocent," said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
President Donald Trump has held talks with some Democrats on the issue of expanding background checks, but his language at a campaign rally on Thursday night in Manchester, New Hampshire did not signal any compromise on guns, as he focused more on the issue of mental health.
“It's not the gun that pulls the trigger. It's the person holding the gun,” the President said.
The bills on the schedule in September before the House Judiciary Committee include:
+ H.R. 1186, the Keep Americans Safe Act. This bill would ban high capacity ammunition magazines.
+ H.R. 1236, the Extreme Risk Protector Order Act, designed to help states formulate 'Red Flag' laws.
+ H.R. 3076, the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, which would allow people to go into federal court to take a firearm away from a mentally unstable person.
H.R. 2708, the Disarm Hate Act, which would add misdemeanor hate crimes to the list of items disqualifying someone from buying a weapon, under the current background check system.
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