To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Bill To Ban Assault Weapons Passed In The US

Bill To Ban Assault Weapons Passed In The US

Democrats won passage of the bill with a mostly partisan vote of 217-213, sending it to the Senate

A bill to ban assault weapons has been passed by the US House of Representatives, amid ongoing concern over the use of rapid-fire AR-15 rifles in mass shootings. 

Democrats won passage of the bill with a mostly partisan vote of 217-213, sending it to the Senate – where many fear it likely faces defeat. 

The legislation would criminalise the sale, manufacture, transfer, possession or importation of many types of semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices. 

The vote on Friday, 29 July, followed a floor debate on the matter, with a number of House Democrats asserting how a ban on assault-style weapons was a crucial preventative measure after a spate of deadly shooting sprees in the US. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: "Our nation has watched in unspeakable horror as assault weapons have been used in massacre after massacre in communities across the country. 

"We know that an assault weapons ban can work because it has worked before." 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
ZUMA Press Inc/Alamy Stock Photo

Democratic Representative Lloyd Doggett also argued that such weapons are ‘easier for a teenager to get than to buy a beer’, adding: "We've turned our churches, our schools, our shopping centers, our entertainment venues, almost any place into a battleground with one massacre after another." 

House Republicans, meanwhile, claimed that the legislation was unconstitutional, saying Democrats ultimately wanted to confiscate all firearms. 

Republican Jim Jordan – who is the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee – said the bill would make communities ‘less safe’. 

"Today, they’re coming for your guns,” he said. "They want to take all guns from all people." 

But President Joe Biden has praised House Democrats for passing the bill, urging the Senate to ‘move quickly’ to do the same, saying he would ‘not stop fighting’ until it reached his desk. 

In a statement, he said: "When guns are the number one killer of children in America, when more children die from guns than active-duty police and active-duty military combined, we have to act. 

"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." 

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden pay tribute to the victims of a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, earlier this year.
White House Photo/Alamy Stock Photo

Just five House Democrats voted against the ban – Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Jared Golden of Maine and Ron Kind of Wisconsin – while the two Republicans who crossed the aisle to support the bill were Chris Jacobs of New York and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, New York Times reports.

For years, Democrats have been fighting to renew a federal ban on assault weapons, which was first brought in back in 1994 and expired in 2004. According to a 2021 study by Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, it resulted in a significant decrease in mass shootings.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected] 

Featured Image Credit: Iain Masterton/B.O'Kane/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: US News, Politics