The House narrowly passed a bill to ban assault weapons on Friday, with five Democrats and two Republicans opposing their respective parties in their votes on the measure.
The legislation, dubbed the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022, adopted by 217 votes against 213. A Republican did not vote.
Five Democrats opposed the bill, despite the fact that an assault weapons ban was a top priority for the party as the year nears the midterm elections.
Representatives Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Jared Golden (D-Maine), Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) all voted “no.”
On the Republican side, leaders recommended that conference members vote no on the bill, according to a GOP congressional aide. That urging, however, hasn’t stopped Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Chris Jacobs (RN.Y.) from backing the legislation.
Cuellar and Golden’s votes against the measure came as no surprise.
Golden voted against the bill’s rule on Friday, a sign he opposes the legislation. He has also opposed a number of gun-related bills in the past, including a move to nationalize the Red Flag laws, a bipartisan gun safety bill that has was passed by the Senate and was signed into law and a firearms package that, among other measures, would have raised the minimum age to purchase a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21.
Cuellar last month reported he would not vote for the bill, saying, “I don’t believe in gun bans.”
“Do I believe in certain restrictions? Yes. But a gun ban? No,” he added.
Gonzalez also voted against the assault weapons ban rule on Friday, a sign he would likely oppose the measure in the final vote.
In a statement late Friday, the Texas Democrat said a ban on certain models of assault weapons “will do nothing to reduce overall risk,” noting the millions of assault rifles already in circulation in the United States. United.
“Our goal should be to keep guns away from people who pose a danger to themselves or others,” he said.
The congressman called on the Senate to reinstate gun legislation the House previously passed, including measures to ban civilian use of high-capacity magazines and strengthen background checks.
Schrader was the third Democrat to vote against the rule on Friday, and he had reservations about banning assault weapons before then.
He suggested to Politics last week that the bill was on a “death wish list” for Democrats, highlighting the Republican victory in the 1994 midterm elections, after then-President Clinton signed a weapons ban by assault.
“It was a bill that destroyed Democrats in 1994. I guess, do we really have a death wish list as Democrats? Schrader said.
The Oregon Democrat also said he was concerned about the assault weapons ban because he felt it would undermine the bipartisan package approved by Congress and Biden signed the law into law last month.
“It undermines what we’ve already done and reminds all Americans who aren’t die-hard urban Democrats that our party is out of touch,” he told the outlet.
It was unclear how Kind would vote on the assault weapons ban before it was presented to the prosecution. The congressman previously voted against two provisions of the sweeping gun package the House passed last month — one that would ban civilians from using high-capacity magazines and one that would reinforce the safe storage of weapons in houses where minors can access weapons.
The Hill reached out to all five Democrats to comment on their votes.
In a statement after Friday’s vote, Jacobs said that while he supports the Second Amendment and the right to self-defense, he does not support “easy access to high-powered semi-automatic weapons and magazines. of great capacity which have again and again resulted”. in mass shootings.
He referenced the mass shooting that took place in Buffalo, NY, in May, in which 10 black people were killed in a grocery store, writing that the weapons banned in the bill have been proven to “rapidly cause an immense amount of damage”.
“We have a duty to keep all Americans safe. These guns do not belong in our communities. While this bill is not perfect, I believe it will save innocent lives,” he said. -he declares.
Jacobs’ vote comes as no surprise. The New York Democrat announced in May that he would support an assault weapons ban, sparking outrage within his party. A week later, the congressman said he would not seek a second term in the House.
During Friday’s vote, Jacobs said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) approached him in the President’s lobby to point out how close the final count would be. Asked by The Hill if the leaders were trying to convince him to change his vote, Jacobs replied “it wasn’t like it was heavy, heavy, they were just pointing out how close it was.”
Fitzpatrick told The Hill on Friday night that he finally decided to vote for an assault weapons ban after thinking about a family in Parkland, Florida who suffered a loss following the 2018 shootings. at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Had the two Republicans voted with their party in the final vote, they might have tied the 215-215 vote, preventing Democrats from reaching the 216-vote threshold they needed to pass the bill. A Republican did not vote.
Fitzpatrick told The Hill that McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) did not approach him during the vote.
“They know I’m doing my own thing,” he said. “I developed that reputation.”
Emily Brooks contributed.
— Updated at 10:56 p.m.