The House on Friday passed a bill to ban assault weapons, a victory for Democrats following a spate of mass shootings across the country and marking the first time lawmakers have approved a prohibition on the popular firearms in more than two decades.
The legislation, titled the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022, cleared the chamber in a 217-213 vote.
Republican Reps. Chris Jacobs (N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.) supported the measure, while Democratic Reps. Henry Cuellar (Texas), Jared Golden (Maine), Vicente Gonzalez (Texas), Kurt Schrader (Ore.) and Ron Kind (Wisc.) voted “no.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Friday morning that the House would take up the legislation that afternoon, scheduling the last-minute vote days after she said the chamber would punt consideration of the legislation to next month.
Democrats had planned to move the assault weapons ban with community safety legislation under one rule but ultimately decided to consider them separately after some liberals voiced concerns about a lack of accountability in the police measures.
The assault weapons ban legislation, led by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and co-sponsored by 207 voting Democrats, specifically calls for prohibiting the sale, manufacture, transfer or import of various semi-automatic assault weapons, semi-automatic pistols and semi-automatic shotguns, depending on their features.
For example, all semi-automatic rifles that can accept detachable magazines and have a pistol grip, a forward grip, a grenade launcher, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding, telescoping or detachable stock are subject to the ban.
Semi-automatic assault rifles with fixed magazines that can accept more than 15 rounds are subject to the ban would also be prohibited under the legislation, except those with an attached tubular device that can only hold .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.
Though it received bipartisan support in the House, the legislation has little chance of progressing in the Senate because of widespread Republican opposition. Still, House Democrats had pressed leadership for the chance to vote on the measure to send a message that they are fighting for an issue that has increased in popularity in recent years.
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