House Preps Bill to Raise Age Limit for Certain Firearms

But the legislation will be largely symbolic
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 2, 2022 1:41 AM CDT
House Preps Bill to Raise Age Limit for Certain Firearms
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, top center, speaks and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, top right, the ranking member, listens as the panel holds a markup session at the Capitol in Washington, Sept. 13, 2021.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The House is beginning to put its stamp on gun legislation in response to mass shootings in Texas and New York by 18-year-old assailants who used semi-automatic rifles to kill 31 people, including 19 children. The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Thursday to advance legislation that would raise the age limit for purchasing a semi-automatic centerfire rifle from 18 to 21, the AP reports. The bill would make it a federal offense to import, manufacture, or possess large-capacity magazines and would create a grant program to buy back such magazines. It also builds on the executive branch’s ban on bump-stock devices and so-called ghost guns that are privately made without serial numbers.

The Democratic legislation, called the Protecting Our Kids Act, was quickly added to the legislative docket after last week's school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. A vote by the full House could come as early as next week. With Republicans nearly in lockstep in their opposition, the House action will mostly be symbolic, serving to put lawmakers on record about gun control ahead of this year's elections. The Senate is taking a different course, with a bipartisan group striving toward a compromise on gun safety legislation that can win enough GOP support to become law.

Any legislative response to the Uvalde and Buffalo, New York, shootings will have to get through the evenly divided Senate, where support from at least 10 Republicans would be needed to advance the measure to a final vote. A group of senators has been working behind the scenes this week in hopes of finding a consensus. Ideas under discussion include expanded background checks for gun purchases and incentivizing red-flag laws that allow family members, school officials, and others to go into court and secure an order requiring the police to seize guns from people considered a threat to themselves or others. The broader bipartisan group of almost 10 senators met again Wednesday—“a very productive call,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., in an interview.

(More gun control stories.)

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