The U.S. House of Representatives has approved this Friday the ban on assault rifles, a measure that would limit the use of these weapons for the first time since 2004, and which must now pass to the Senate, where it will probably not get enough support.
The bill has been approved with 217 votes in favor, while 213 votes have been registered against, with almost all the opponents of such a rule being Republican legislators.
However, two Republican representatives — Chris Jacobs and Brian Fitzpatrick — supported the measure, while five Democratic representatives — Henry Cuellar, Texas; Jared Golden, Maine; Vicente Gonzalez, Texas; Kurt Schrader, Oregon; and Ron Kind, Wisconsin — voted against it, as reported by ‘The Hill’ newspaper.
The legislation specifically calls for a ban on the manufacture, distribution or importation of semi-automatic weapons in response to concerns about mass shootings that have occurred in the country in recent months.
“Our nation has watched in unspeakable horror as assault weapons have been used in massacre after massacre in communities across the country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said, as reported by ‘NBCNews’.
However, the bill is unlikely to advance in the Senate, due to widespread Republican opposition in that chamber. It would require the support of at least a dozen Republicans and all Democratic senators.
U.S. President Joe Biden has therefore called on senators to pass the bill by appealing to “common sense.” “There can be no greater responsibility than to do everything possible to ensure the safety of our families, our children, our homes, our communities and our nation,” he said after celebrating the House vote.
“Today, House Democrats acted by coming together to pass an assault weapons ban to keep weapons of war off our streets, save lives in this country and reduce crime in our communities,” the U.S. president applauded, adding that it is “necessary to act” when “guns are the leading cause of death of children in the United States”.
In 1994, the first and last assault weapons ban law was passed, which was in force until 2004. U.S. President Joe Biden, who was a senator at the time, has encouraged passage of the bill.
“When I signed the bipartisan Safer Communities Act – the first major gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years – I said there was work to be done to keep our communities safe and prevent dangerous firearms from falling into dangerous hands,” Biden has said.
Last month, the Biden administration passed a gun safety bill that aims to check the backgrounds of gun buyers and made it a federal crime to obtain guns through false purchases.