It is Time for Congress to Act

Mr. Nadler

House committee considers gun bill in the wake of mass shootings

 The House of Representatives began putting its stamp on the gun law in response to Texas and New York mass shootings.

The House Judiciary will hold a hearing session this Thursday to introduce legislation that would raise the minimum purchase age for some semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21. Create a buyback grant program for such magazines. It also relies on the Executive's ban on devices with mounting stocks and so-called ghost guns privately manufactured without serial numbers.

The Democratic legislation, called the Protect Our Children Act, was quickly added to the legislative agenda after one week's school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. A vote by the full House may take place as early as next week.

With Republicans closing in on the opposition, the House action will be mostly symbolic as it works to score lawmakers on gun control ahead of this year's elections. The Senate is taking a different path, with a bipartisan group scrambling to find a compromise on gun safety legislation that could win enough GOP support to become law. These talks are making "rapid progress," according to Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of the Republican negotiators.

But Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the Democratic chair of the House Judiciary Committee, defends the proposals as popular with Americans; it is time for Congress to act.

"You're saying it's too early to take action? Are we 'politicizing' these tragedies to enact new policies?" Nadler said in remarks prepared for Thursday's hearing obtained by The Associated Press. "It's been 23 years since Columbine. Fifteen years since Virginia Tech, ten years on Sandy Hook, seven years in Charleston.

He added, "Very soon? My friends, what are you waiting for?"

Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the ranking Republican member of the committee, told Fox News he would pressure his fellow Republicans to oppose the bill.

"I will do everything to encourage my colleagues to oppose this...a patchwork of bills that I don't think will make a single difference to the tragedies we've seen recently," Jordan said.

Any legislative response to the shootings in Uvaldi and Buffalo, New York, would have to pass through the evenly divided Senate, where at least 10 Republicans would be needed to push the measure to a final vote. A group of senators worked behind the scenes this week in hopes of reaching a consensus.

Ideas under discussion include: making background checks for gun purchases, incentivizing red flag laws that allow family members, school officials, and other people to go to court, and securing an order requiring police to confiscate guns from people they consider a threat themselves or others.

In an interview, the broader, bipartisan group of 10 senators met Wednesday again — "it was a very productive call," Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, said.

"There is thrust and tone and a real substantive discussion that seems different," he said.

Blumenthal was working with a Republican member of the group, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, on a proposal to send resources to states for red flag laws. He said he was "excited and encouraged" by the group's response.

"It is time for our fellow Republicans to shut up or shut up," Blumenthal said. "We've been down this road before."

President Joe Biden was asked Wednesday if he were confident Congress would take action on the gun law.

"I served in Congress for 36 years. I'm not ever completely confident," Biden said. "It depends, I don't know. I did not participate in the negotiations because they are taking place now."

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