Some Democrats Wary of Assault-Weapon Ban

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An assault weapons ban is picking up steam in the House and on the 2020 campaign trail as Democrats search for a way to respond to two recent mass shootings while putting political pressure on recalcitrant Republican leaders. However, a ban on military-style weapons won’t become law anytime soon even if the Democratic-held House passes legislation, The Hill reports. Former Vice President Joe Biden this week vowed to reinstate and strengthen the 1994 ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines if he’s elected president. Nearly 200 House Democrats have now signed on to legislation authored by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) banning semi-automatic firearms and large-capacity magazines.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has no intention of bringing the legislation to the floor, and President Trump has said there’s “no political appetite” for such a ban; both men are allies of the National Rifle Association, which is vehemently opposed to any ban or moratorium. Despite the fresh momentum, it’s not certain that the assault weapons ban will get a vote on the House floor. House Judiciary Committee leaders are weighing whether to bring the panel back to Washington during the long August recess to take up gun reforms beyond  background check legislation that passed in February. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said Tuesday that gun reform would be the panel’s first order of business whenever it returns. Some Democrats have pointed to the assault-weapon ban as the reason the House flipped to Republican control in the 1994 midterm elections, and there is concern among some in the party now that voting on the ban would put Democrats from Trump districts, like freshman Reps. Abigail Spanberger (Va.) and Joe Cunningham (SC), in an tough spot.

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