WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats pushed ahead Wednesday with legislation that would ban certain semi-automatic weapons as they considered their most far-reaching response yet to this summer’s spate of mass shootings.
Democrats hope that the 100-page bill moving through the Judiciary Committee will pass the House before the August break. But that is far from assured, with moderates in the party, especially those hailing from politically divided swing districts, wary of a vote on sweeping gun controls ahead of the November midterm elections — especially when the bill has little chance of becoming law due to opposition in the Senate.
The renewed push for a ban on certain semi-automatic weapons comes nearly two decades after Congress allowed similar restrictions to lapse. The original ban passed in 1994, led by then-Sen. Joe Biden, and banned certain semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity magazines, though it exempted an estimated 1.5 million of those weapons and 25 million that were already owned by Americans.