WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Almost 20 years after the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired, a House committee has taken up the bill aiming to ban assault-style weapons, as Republicans push back against efforts to pass more gun laws.
In a hearing, Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) played audio from the moments a gunman opened fire on students at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. He also called mass shootings a uniquely American problem magnified by easy access to assault-style weapons.
“There are more guns than people in this country, more mass shootings than days in the year,” Cicilline said.
He added “these bullets don’t just pierce, they explode inside the victim’s body and decimate them. For God’s sake, parents in Uvalde had to identify their children via DNA sample because the bullets ripped their children apart.”
Democrats are pushing to renew the federal bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that expired in 2004.
However, Florida Republican congressman Greg Steube said his time in the military showed him AR-15-style rifles are not weapons of war as Democrats call them.
“You are issued weapons that allow for fully automatic and three-round bursts,” Steube said. “That’s already banned.”
Republican Ohio congressman Jim Jordan argued the Second Amendment prevents Congress from banning any weapons.
“The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, plain and simple. It doesn’t say the right to keep and bear muskets,” Jordan said.
Meanwhile, Democrats hope the U.S. House will soon pass the proposed ban on assault weapons.
“Perhaps sometime today our Republican friends will explain to us why their interpretation of the Second Amendment wouldn’t prohibit us from banning tanks or jet bombers,” Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said.