House Judiciary Committee Will Return Early to Advance Gun Reform Bills

Photo: Mario Tama (Getty Images)

In the wake of multiple mass shootings in recent weeks that have claimed dozens of lives in several states, some lawmakers are willing to cut short their vacations to return to Washington for more work on gun reform.

Politico reported that members of the House Judiciary Committee will return to Capitol Hill early in September to move three gun control bills forward following the massacres in El Paso, TX, and Dayton, OH, among others.

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These include a ban of high-capacity magazines, like the one used in Dayton, which allowed a gunman to shoot 26 people in just 32 seconds. The committee is expected to approve the ban on Sept. 4, along with two other measures. Those include a process to prevent people who are considered a risk from obtaining firearms, along with those convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes.

Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler also plans to take up the issue of military-style assault weapons on Sept. 25.

The House Judiciary Committee “refuses to sit idly by as more communities are devastated by gun violence,” Nadler said in a statement.

“For far too long, politicians in Washington have only offered thoughts and prayers in the wake of gun violence tragedies. Thoughts and prayers have never been enough. To keep our communities safe, we must act,” Nadler said.

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Last February, lawmakers in the House passed two other gun control bills that have languished in the Senate, because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to call them up for a vote. Those bills are H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019.

Senate Republicans also have resisted calls to return early from summer recess to pass gun reform in the wake of the recent mass shootings.

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McConnell said the Senate would have “serious discussions” about gun control when senators return, BuzzFeed News reported. But the news site also noted that, “McConnell and Senate Republicans have successfully blocked any meaningful gun control measures from becoming law over the past two decades.”

Politico also reported that it’s hard to tell what Donald Trump would do if lawmakers put gun reform legislation on his desk to sign. As Splinter’s Caitlin Cruz noted on Friday, Trump has been focused on talking about mental illness since the recent mass shootings.

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He told reporters, “We’re going to look at that very closely,” referring to the “whole gun situation.” He added: “These people are mentally ill, and nobody talks about that,” referring to the shooters.

Trump, who visited both Dayton and El Paso following the shootings, said he recently had spoken with representatives of the National Rifle Association “so that their very strong views can be fully represented and respected.”

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