The U.S. House of Representatives voted 223-204 Wednesday in favor of a package of gun control bills introduced in the wake of the second-deadliest school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
The package raises the legal age of purchase for semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 and bans the import, sale, manufacture, and transfer or possession of large-capacity magazines, and establishes requirements to regulate the storage of firearms – a section that is also known as Ethan’s law. The package, however, is unlikely to receive the 60 votes it needs to break the Senate filibuster.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro who held a media availability on the need to enact safe storage legislation with Kristin and Mike Song, Ethan Song’s parents, said, the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas “have robbed families of loved ones and left communities traumatized. These tragedies were avoidable, and the direct result of our repeated lack of action to get guns off our streets. We must do everything within our power to prevent them from happening again.”
DeLauro said children’s safety should help to unify Americans.
“Mass shootings are taking the lives of babies, parents, brothers, and sisters,” DeLauro said. “Saving our children must be a unifying mission for our nation, and I will not rest until the job is done. We took an important step forward today, but until these provisions become law, innocent lives are at stake.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney called it common sense.
“Today it was my job and my moral obligation to families in eastern Connecticut to return to the negotiating table to try and hammer out some preliminary, commonsense, bipartisan steps forward to curb our nation’s completely abnormal rates of gun violence,” Courtney said.
U.S. Rep. John B. Larson put the onus on the Senate.
“The mothers from Sandy Hook and Mothers United Against Violence are our most eloquent spokespeople,” Larson said. “The House has reflected their concerns and voted. Today is no different. What remains is a Senate that has chosen not to vote on any gun legislation … Victims and survivors of gun violence know the problem lies in the filibuster and cloture vote. The Senate has to reform.”
Mark Barden, the father of Daniel Barden, who was gunned down in his Sandy Hook classroom nearly 10 years ago, said he hopes they can find common ground.
“We appreciate the House of Representatives’ efforts to protect kids, but we must work together to advance bipartisan legislation that can be signed into law,” Barden said. “We know that the overwhelming majority of voters support reasonable gun safety reforms. We encourage members of the House to find common ground so that, together with the Senate, Congress can take action before another child is killed by gun violence.”
He added: “We cannot wait for the ‘perfect’ bill; Congress must overcome partisanship to save our children’s lives.”
A new Quinnipiac University poll Wednesday found that nearly 3 out of 4 voters surveyed support raising the legal age to purchase any gun.
“As mass murders by teenage killers tear at the heart of the country, Americans say by a three to one margin, you should be 21 to buy a gun,” Tim Malloy, deputy poll director, said.
Negotiations over the Senate bill are being led by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut. At the moment, press reports do not include Ethan’s Law as part of the evolving bill.
DeLauro and Song acknowledged that fact. They acknowledged that not enough Republicans have expressed support at this point to move the measure into the bill.
They also promised to keep pushing, and remain confident.
“Today is a victory,” DeLauro declared. “Let us not think about what we can’t get done today.
In the Senate, five Democrats and four Republicans involved in the bipartisan talks have agreed to work toward something narrowly focused – not a political messaging bill – that can win over 10 Senate Republicans by the time Congress returns from recess.
Murphy has said if he leaves the Senate without passing major gun legislation his tenure will have been a failure.
“I get up every day and go to sleep every night thinking about what happened in Sandy Hook and what happens every day in Hartford and New Haven,” Murphy said last week. “My job ultimately is to get something meaningful passed at the federal level, and I will feel like my public service is incomplete if I don’t succeed in getting something real done that saves lives.”