Politics & Policy

House Judiciary Committee Advances Bill that would Ban High-Capacity Magazines

Sign at a rally against guns and white supremacy in in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., August 6, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to advance a series of gun-control bills during a contentious mark up session held after a spate of mass shootings claimed 53 lives in August.

The Democratically controlled committee voted to advance three bills to the floor that would ban magazines that hold ten or more rounds; provide funds to incentivize states to establish red flag laws; and make it illegal for someone convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime to own a gun.

Democrats claimed throughout the mark-up session that there is broad public support for all three measures and consistently rejected Republican amendments. The Republican-controlled Senate, led by majority leader Mitch McConnell, is unlikely to take up any of the bills should they pass the House.

“That will not stop this committee,” committee chairman Jerry Nadler said of McConnell’s opposition at the beginning of the markup, according to Roll Call. “Today, we will consider three more measures that would help prevent the tragic gun violence that has engulfed this nation in recent years.”

Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the committee, suggested the legislative package would sooth lawmakers’ collective conscious but would not prevent the mass shootings that prompted their drafting.

He also questioned the constitutionality of red-flag legislation, which would empower judges to temporarily disarm a gun owner if he’s reported as a threat by a friend or family member.

“Do we really want to surrender Americans’ constitutional rights to such a low standard without giving those citizens notice or an opportunity to be heard?” Collins said.

President Trump expressed support for red-flag laws in August after a series of mass shootings in California, Texas, and Ohio that collectively claimed 34 lives, and Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) is currently working on a red-flag bill that addresses Republicans’ constitutional concerns.

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