Five House Republicans break with party on gun reform

Five outgoing House “Republicans” all broke with the GOP on Wednesday and voted in support of a sweeping gun control package that would “say when you can buy a firearm, what kind of firearm you can get, and where and how you have to store that firearm in your own darn home,” as Rep. Jim Jordan put it.

Reps. Adam Kinzinger, Anthony Gonzalez, Brian Fitzpatrick, Chris Jacobs, and Fred Upton voted specifically in favor of the Protecting Our Kids Act, according to The Hill.

The bill would, among other things, raise the minimum age required to purchase a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21 and ban high-capacity magazines.

The ostensible Republicans voted for the bill despite Minority Whip Steve Scalise issuing a memo a day earlier advising all Republicans to vote “no.”

“In the wake of the senseless, malevolent shootings seen in recent months, the Majority has thrown together this reactionary package comprised of legislation that egregiously violates law-abiding citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights and hinders Americans’ ability to defend and protect themselves and their families,” the memo read.

As to why they voted for the package, Fitzpatrick for his part issued a statement saying, “I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and all of the protections that it entails. I also believe that we have no higher responsibility as leaders, no higher responsibility as human beings, than to protect our children and to keep our community safe. These are not and must not be mutually exclusive concepts.”

Fair enough, but speaking on Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday” the weekend prior, Scalise pushed back on the idea that, as an example, raising the minimum age required to purchase a semi-automatic weapon would solve the problem of mass shootings.

Listen:

“Well, first of all, you can look [to] California. They had a bill to raise the age in the state of California, and a federal court ruled it unconstitutional. So instead of trying to go down unconstitutional routes, why don’t we look at why more young people are doing this? And by the way, in a lot of these school shootings, there is somebody in that school that knew the shooter was going to take action before the shooting,” he said.

“We need to be helping get kids more engaged in alerting authorities if they see something they’re concerned about and let the authorities take action if it’s necessary, and try to intervene and stop something before it happens instead of just immediately rushing to go take the rights of gun owners away.”

Speaking on the House floor Wednesday, Rep. Jordan also offered reasons for why the Democrats’ proposed solution isn’t the right answer.

He argued, for instance, that the bill is nothing more than an attempt by Democrats to get a foothold in the door of much larger gun control.

“The answer is not to destroy the Second Amendment, but that is exactly where the Democrats want to go. You don’t have to take my word for it. Just look what they said. The president of the United States said last week that he wants to get rid of the most popular handgun in the country. Michael Moore … said that it’s time to repeal the Second Amendment,” he said.

“During our 10-hour markup last Thursday in the committee hearing, Rep. Jackson Lee says if this bill passes, we’re not finished. Rep. Jones said if this bill doesn’t pass, we will end the filibuster, we will expand the Supreme Court, we will do whatever it takes to get law-abiding American citizens’ guns.”

Listen:

Jordan also listed some of the other things the bill would do.

“Many of the elements in these bills are unconstitutional. Even the Ninth Circuit has said it’s unconstitutional what they want to do on the age limit. These bills would say when you can buy a firearm, what kind of firearm you can get, and where and how you have to store that firearm in your own darn home,” he said.

“And of course tomorrow, tomorrow they’re bringing the so-called red flag law to the floor. Someone who doesn’t like you can file a complaint. Within 24 hours there is a hearing that you’re not allowed to be at. You can’t confront your accuser, and they can take away your Second Amendment liberty. that’s the bill they’re going to pass tomorrow.”

He was correct about a red flag bill:

As of late Thursday morning, it was unclear whether Kinzinger, Gonzalez, Fitzpatrick, Jacobs, and Upton planned to vote for it as well.

As for the Protecting Our Kids Act, it was reportedly comprised of seven separate provisions. The House held votes for the entire bill and then votes for each individual provision.

While only five Republicans voted for the whole bill, other Republicans, including Jordan, did vote for one provision that would order “the attorney general to submit a report to congressional committees detailing individuals who could not purchase a firearm because they failed a background check,” according to The Hill.

Jordan did not, however, vote for a ban on bump stocks for civilians, though 13 Republicans did.

“The initiative passed in a 233-194 vote, with 13 Republicans bucking the party: Reps. Mike Turner (Ohio), John Katko (N.Y.), Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Chris Jacobs (N.Y.), Nicole Malliotakis (N.Y.), Chris Smith (N.J.), Maria Salazar (Fla.), David Valadao (Calif.), Ken Calvert (Calif.) David Joyce (Ohio), Kinzinger, Upton and Jacobs,” according to The Hill.

The good news for Republicans is that all these gun control provisions stand zero chance of making it through the Senate.

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Vivek Saxena

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