As President Joe Biden signed the bi-partisan gun safety legislation into law less than a month ago, Congressional Democrats have renewed their push for an assault weapons ban and other gun control measures.
On Wednesday, in dual House and Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, the Democrats made a case for Congress to take drastic action to address mass shootings.
During the House Judiciary Committee hearing, lawmakers debated legislation banning assault weapons. When using the term assault weapons, lawmakers often describe them as semi-automatic rifles.
Rhode Island Democratic Congressman David Cicilline said:
“We all respect the Second Amendment, but it’s not without limits … Imagine how much we could get accomplished if we clung to the desire to protect our children and communities as tightly as some of my colleagues cling to their rifles.”
Republican lawmakers argued that the bill would be nearly impossible to enforce properly.
Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) said:
“If this legislation becomes law, millions of firearms that Americans legally own today will be illegal … Under this bill, if you get one of those legally owned firearms to a family member, or a friend, or a neighbor, you could end up in federal prison for five years.”
Democrats have wanted the 1994 assault weapons ban to be reinstated. The original ban was in effect between 1994 and 2004 as part of former President Bill Clinton’s crime bill, authored by then-Senator Joe Biden.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said:
“Driven by the courage of survivors and advocates around the country, House Democrats have proudly led the charge for life-saving action to combat gun violence.”
The problem with Pelosi’s statement is that there are strict gun laws and restrictions in her state — California — however, the rules are not being enforced. Criminals are still able to get their hands on weapons, and there is little repercussion, as they don’t serve their full sentences due to soft-on-crime district attorneys like George Gascon.
Republicans argue that the Second Amendment should not be touched.
Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) said:
“We ought to be looking to find ways to harden … places of worship and other public spaces like shopping malls and movie theaters and those kinds of places … We did it for schools. We ought to do it for those things as well. Not further eroding the constitutional rights of hard-working, law-abiding citizens.”
In order for any gun law to work, politicians and district attorneys must have a tough-on-crime approach, arrest criminals, and not release them from prison before their sentencing is through. But the Democrats would rather focus on guns than holding criminals accountable.