WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee passed a package of gun control measures Thursday after several hours of heated debate.
The emergency hearing to take up the proposal was scheduled in response to last week’s deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas and it was held just hours after a gunman opened fire the night before at a Tulsa medical center.
“Look at their faces,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), referring to the photos of the Uvalde victims that were posted on a board. “These are not class graduation pictures. They’re dead children.”
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The committee passed the Democrat-backed “Protecting Our Kids Act” which links several gun control measures together.
The proposal raises the minimum purchase age to 21 for certain rifles and shotguns.
It also aims to prevent gun trafficking and requires all guns to be traceable.
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Republicans on the panel called it a one size fits all approach that violates the second amendment.
“Democrats have rushed to a markup today in what seems more like political theater than a real attempt at improving public safety or finding solutions,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
“It has been 23 years since Columbine,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY). “15 years since Virginia Tech. 10 years since Sandy Hook… Too soon? My friends, what the hell are you waiting for?”
Republicans instead called for lawmakers to focus on improving mental health treatment and beefing up school security.
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“We can take action to make our schools more secure,” said Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH).
Bipartisan negotiations in the Senate, meanwhile, are also on-going about gun control legislation.
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