According to reports, House Democrats are currently looking to begin the process of pushing their sweeping package of gun control legislation through Congress.
The House Judiciary Committee plans to meet and discuss changes to the legislation, before it’s brought to the House floor next week for a vote. This news comes just seven days after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas — an attack which left 19 students and two teachers dead, and has led to a renewed debate over gun control and school safety in America.
The Democrats’ legislation, a collection of eight separate bills grouped together as the “Protecting Our Kids Act,” proposes a number of new government regulations on the sale and use of firearms. These regulations would include raising the legal age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21, making it illegal to sell or possess a large-capacity magazine, creating new requirements for at-home gun storage, and banning the sale and possession of bump stocks (with a grandfather clause for existing ones).
It’s currently unclear whether Democratic representatives, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, plan to push their legislation all at once, as a single comprehensive bill, or separately, as a number of different bills.
While a single comprehensive bill would likely make it through the House of Representatives, where Democrats maintain a 220 – 208 majority, the chances of such a bill passing the Senate are much slimmer. Although Democrats hold a technical 50-member majority in the Senate, Republicans would be able to block passage of the legislation through use of a filibuster — a tactic Democrats would need 60 votes to circumvent.
Some GOP Senators have expressed a willingness to compromise, however. On Tuesday, Republicans John Cornyn (R-TX) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) met with Democrats Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to discuss potential areas of bipartisan agreement. In a statement, Senator Cornyn said that the four had a “very constructive conversation” and hoped to continue talks “at some point soon.”
Other Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have pushed to center the conversation around mental illness and school safety, rather than gun control. Speaking to media in his home state of Kentucky, McConnell said that Republicans and Democrats had been “discussing how we might be able to come together to target the problem, which is mental illness and school safety.”