On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed gun control legislation that would expand the types of weapons and devices subject to federal regulation. Titled the ‘Protecting Our Kids Act’ (US HR7910), the bill passed with a 223-204 vote, including the support of five Republicans.
Headlining the legislation, the bill would prohibit FFLs from selling or transferring semiautomatic centerfire rifles and shotguns with the ability to accept an ammunition feeding device exceeding five rounds to individuals under the age of 21 – raising the national age restriction on such firearms from 18. The Act would also amend the definition of ‘large capacity ammunition feeding device’ to include any device capable of holding more than 15 rounds. This follows the recent tragedies in Buffalo, N.Y. and Uvalde, Texas in which both 18-year-old shooters were able to legally purchase AR-15 rifles before carrying out mass shootings.
Other notable provisions of the bill include:
- Require all firearms be traceable with an engraved or cast serial number.
- Amend the term ‘manufacturing firearms’ to include assembling a functional firearm or molding, machining, or 3D printing a frame or receiver.
- Require firearms be secured using a secure gun storage or safety device.
- Close the bump stock “loophole” by prohibiting devices designed to increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic weapon or eliminate the need to make a separate movement for each individual function of the trigger.
- Report demographic data of persons denied by NICS annually to the Committees on the Judiciary of the House and Senate.
Though it passed the house, the ‘Protecting Our Kids Act’ is expected to fail in the Senate as currently written. Evenly split, Senate Democrats will seek to narrow the bill’s provisions in an attempt to avoid Republican filibuster.
In a surprise, a bipartisan group of 20 senators struck an agreement over the weekend on a framework package of gun control legislation. Signed by 10 representatives of each party, the deal is believed to have a better chance of passing the Republican-led Senate than the ‘Protecting Our Kids Act’ bill passed by the House last week.
What would be “the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades,” according to President Joe Biden, the deal was summarized by co-chief negotiators Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas.
Among its measures, the legislative package would:
- Enhance background checks for individuals under 21 years old, requiring an investigative period to review state and local juvenile and mental health records.
- Provide funding for states to implement crisis intervention orders (red flag laws) to allow law enforcement to temporarily take firearms from individuals whom a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others.
- Close the “boyfriend loophole,” preventing convicted domestic violence abusers and individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders from purchasing firearms.
- Implement new penalties against gun trafficking and straw purchasing.
- Clarify definition of federal firearms dealer to ensure all commercial sellers are performing background checks.
“Will this bill do everything we need to end our nation’s gun violence epidemic? No. But it’s real, meaningful progress,” said Sen. Murphy.