The U.S. House of Representatives passed gun control legislation late Wednesday that would raise the age to purchase certain semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21, and bans the sale of magazines capable of carrying more than 15 rounds. The bills are unlikely to pass the Senate, however.
The Protecting Our Kids Act passed the House with a vote of 223-204, almost entirely along party lines. Five GOP representatives voted in favor of the bill: Reps. Anthony Gonzalez, Fred Upton, Brian Fitzpatrick, Adam Kinzinger and Chris Jacobs, whereas just two Democrats — Reps. Jared Golden and Kurt Schrader — voted against it.
In addition to raising the age to purchase certain semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21 and banning the sale of “large capacity” magazines, the legislation also allows local governments to issue “compensation for surrendered large capacity” magazines and establishes “safe storage” laws.
Those who break “safe storage” requirements face $500 fines for each violation and any “improperly stored firearm” is subject to “seizure and forfeiture.”
“America has lost more children from gun violence than any other cause,” Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, as reported by CNN. “Does that embarrass you? To think that in our country, more children have died from gun violence than any other cause? These stories are tragically all too common in America today.”
Republicans urged their colleagues to vote against the package of gun control bills, arguing that taking away Americans’ “God-given rights” won’t protect children from gun violence.
“Here they come — going after law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment liberties,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). “The speaker started by saying this bill is about protecting our kids. That is important. … That’s what she said, ‘protecting our kids is important.’ Yes, it is. But this bill doesn’t do it. What this bill does is take away second amendment rights, God-given rights, protected by our Constitution from law-abiding American citizens. That’s what this legislation does, and that’s why we should oppose it.”
Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of West Virginia argued that raising the age to own a gun without raising the age to join the military or be drafted is “immoral and unconstitutional.”
“If democrats have their way, we will live in a world where 18, 19 and 20 year-olds can be drafted to defend the country but cannot legally acquire the means to defend themselves or their families,” he tweeted. “This is immoral and unconstitutional.”
The bill now heads to the Senate where it needs to overcome the filibuster to pass — an outcome that is unlikely due to GOP opposition to the measure that they say infringes upon Second Amendment rights.