As Survivors Demand Action, House Passes Gun Bill Doomed in the Senate
WASHINGTON — The House on Wednesday voted almost alongside get together traces to bar the sale of semiautomatic weapons to individuals below the age of 21 and ban the sale of large-capacity magazines, appearing as traumatized mother and father of victims and survivors of mass shootings made wrenching appeals for Congress to behave on gun violence.
The vote on a sprawling gun package deal got here two weeks and a day after a gunman massacred 19 kids and two lecturers at an elementary college in Uvalde, Texas, and several other hours after the mother and father of one in all the kids killed there and an 11-year-old who survived addressed a House committee to drive dwelling the stakes of the challenge.
But it solely underscored the intractable politics of gun management in Congress, the place all however 5 Republicans voted in opposition to Democrats’ wide-ranging laws, and talks on a compromise remained unresolved.
Though the invoice handed 223 to 204, it stands no probability in the evenly divided Senate, the place stable Republican opposition means it can not draw the 60 votes wanted to interrupt by way of a filibuster and transfer ahead.
Bipartisan negotiations in the Senate continued on Wednesday amongst a small group of Republicans and Democrats on extra modest measures that may even have an opportunity of drawing adequate backing. But one essential participant, Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, warned that there have been “sticking points everywhere.”
The fragile talks in the Senate and the divided consequence in the House had been stark reminders of the political obstacles which have thwarted previous efforts at gun management on Capitol Hill. They had been additionally a jarring distinction with the uncooked and pressing entreaties from individuals traumatized by gun violence that unfolded in a committee room close by.
“We seek a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines,” Kimberly Rubio, whose 10-year-old daughter, Lexi, was killed in Uvalde final month, informed the House Oversight and Reform Committee throughout a listening to on gun violence. Her voice shaking as she recounted the final time she noticed her daughter and the panicked moments earlier than she discovered that Lexi was lifeless, Ms. Rubio used her personal recent ache to name for motion.
“We understand for some reason, to some people — to people with money, to people who fund political campaigns — that guns are more important than children,” she mentioned. “So at this moment, we ask for progress.”
Ms. Rubio, who spoke remotely along with her husband sitting silently weeping by her aspect, was joined at the listening to by Dr. Roy Guerrero, the sole pediatrician in the small city of Uvalde, who testified in tragically graphic element about what the AR-15 used in the bloodbath had executed to the our bodies of fourth graders. Appearing in particular person on Capitol Hill, he railed in opposition to lawmakers who’ve didn’t act in the face of a rising tide of gun violence in America.
“We’re bleeding out,” he informed the committee, “and you are not there.”
Dr. Guerrero recalled seeing two kids in the emergency room “whose bodies had been so pulverized by the bullets fired at them over and over again, whose flesh had been so ripped apart, that the only clue as to their identities were the blood-spattered cartoon clothes still clinging to them.”
Miah Cerrillo, a fourth grader who survived the carnage by protecting herself in a classmate’s blood and pretending to be lifeless, shared her ordeal in a prerecorded video, scrapping plans to seem in particular person.
“He shot my friend that was next to me,” she mentioned of the gunman, talking quietly and with little evident emotion. “And I thought he would come back to the room.”
Miah’s father, who appeared at the listening to in particular person on his daughter’s behalf, exited the listening to room in tears.
The witnesses and Democratic lawmakers who invited them to testify hoped that sharing first-person tales from individuals nonetheless processing the trauma of gun violence would underscore to the public and to lawmakers on the different aspect of the aisle all that’s at stake, whereas rising strain on Republicans who oppose gun management measures to do one thing.
“No civilian needs an assault rifle, and the Second Amendment does not protect the right to own a weapon of war,” mentioned Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and the chairwoman of the committee. “It’s time that we ban assault rifles from our streets and homes.”
Zeneta Everhart, whose son Zaire Goodman was injured throughout a racist gun bloodbath in Buffalo 10 days earlier than the Uvalde tragedy, mentioned lawmakers who continued to do nothing in the face of mass shootings must be voted out.
“Let me paint a picture for you: My son Zaire has a hole in the right side of his neck, two on his back and another on his left leg, caused by an exploding bullet from an AR-15,” she mentioned. “I want you to picture that exact scenario for one of your children. This should not be your story or mine.”
But the listening to shortly devolved right into a partisan back-and-forth, with Democrats calling for gun management measures and Republicans railing in opposition to them. Even because it was underway, Republican leaders had been rallying votes in opposition to Democrats’ gun package deal, circulating steering that famous that the National Rifle Association could be contemplating members’ votes in its future candidate rankings and endorsements.
“The majority aims to make it harder for all law-abiding Americans to protect themselves while failing to address the causes behind these mass shootings,” Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the Republican whip, mentioned in an alert that went out to all members of the Republican Conference. He dismissed the invoice as “reactionary,” and argued that constitutional rights shouldn’t be depending on age.
And inside the listening to room, as lawmakers turned to a panel of specialists, the visceral emotion of the witnesses personally affected by gun violence shortly gave strategy to the acquainted rhythm of political level and counterpoint, with little proof that the testimony had modified the view of even a single Republican.
“Evil deeds do not transcend constitutional rights,” mentioned Representative Andrew Clyde, Republican of Georgia, arguing that gun-free college zone indicators had been a part of the downside and that the answer was hardening colleges.
“Senseless mass shootings are committed by unstable, disturbed loners with mental disease,” mentioned Representative Pat Fallon, Republican of Texas. “More firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens make us all safer.” He additionally referred to as for elevated safety on college campuses.
The listening to and the votes had been scheduled after two mass shootings in the span of 10 days pushed the challenge of gun violence to the forefront in Washington, the place years’ value of efforts to enact gun restrictions in the wake of such shootings have failed amid Republican opposition.
Less than two weeks earlier than the elementary college capturing in Texas, a gunman opened hearth at a grocery store in Buffalo, killing 10 Black individuals in one in all the deadliest racist massacres in current American historical past. Both shootings had been carried out by 18-year-old gunmen utilizing legally bought AR-15-style weapons.
Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, mentioned Republican opponents of measures to limit such weapons had been advancing a “completely false vision of the Second Amendment.”
“Take responsibility for your irresponsible position,” he thundered at Republicans from throughout the House ground.
Representative Joaquin Castro, Democrat of Texas, drew on Dr. Guerrero’s testimony, asking his colleagues to “imagine for a second that a shooter with an AR-15 goes into your child’s school” and “leaves a hole the size of a basketball in their chest, or leaves their head decapitated off their body.”
“Ask yourself what you would ask of the people who represent you,” Mr. Castro mentioned. “Would their thoughts and prayers be good enough for you if that happened to your child? Would them being worried about their primary election be OK with you?”
Republicans mentioned they, too, needed to safeguard kids, however proscribing weapons wouldn’t achieve this.
“The speaker started by saying this bill is about protecting our kids,” mentioned Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the high Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “That is important — it sure 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.”
Two Democrats, Representatives Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, joined Republicans in opposing the invoice. Five Republicans supported it: Representatives Fred Upton of Michigan, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Chris Jacobs of New York, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.
In the Senate, negotiators had been nonetheless greedy for a bipartisan deal that might break the stalemate. On Wednesday, a bunch of Republicans and Democrats at work on a slender set of gun measures got here collectively for his or her first in-person meeting.
The group, led by Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, and Mr. Cornyn, is weighing proposals to develop psychological well being resources, funding for college security and grant money to incentivize states to cross so-called red-flag legal guidelines that enable weapons to be taken away from harmful individuals. They are additionally discussing permitting juvenile data to be included in background checks for potential gun consumers below the age of 21.
Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.