The U.S. House of Representatives passed sweeping gun reform legislation on Wednesday entitled the “Protecting Our Kids Act” in light of the Robb Elementary School mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The bill passed in a 228-199 vote, with ten Republicans voting alongside the Democrats.
Those Republicans are listed below:
“10 Republicans just voted with 218 Democrats in the House to raise the age of semi-automatic gun ownership from 18 to 21: Fitzpatrick-PA Gonzalez-OH Jacobs-NY Katko-NY Kinzinger-IL Malliotakis-NY Salazar-FL Smith-NJ Turner-OH Upton-MI The bill now heads to the Senate,” Charlie Kirk noted.
“If passed in the Senate, the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic rifles nation wide will be raised from 18 to 21 and will require all firearms in the United States to be traceable, eliminating ‘ghost guns’,” Katie Daviscourt of the Post Millennial reported. “In addition, gun owners will be required to properly store firearms in safes and there will be restrictions on large capacity magazines. The bill will also eliminate the use of bump stocks.”
The bill would also eliminate the use of straw purchasers, although the practice is already illegal. The bill can be read in full here.
The Robb Elementary School mass shooting was preceded by a number of security failures. The school’s door was reportedly unlocked, and 19 armed police officers failed to intervene for nearly 80 minutes while the suspect carried out his shooting rampage unimpeded.
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Critics of the new gun legislation point out that restricting law-abiding gun owners from defending themselves with firearms proportionate to those their attackers might bear will do little to “protect our children.” A 2019 study suggests that arming resource officers and authorized teachers may be a much more effective solution.“After the Columbine school shooting 20 years ago, one of the more significant changes in how we protect students has been the advance of legislation that allows teachers to carry guns at schools, the study notes.
“There are two obvious questions: Does letting teachers carry create dangers? Might they deter attackers? Twenty states currently allow teachers and staff to carry guns to varying degrees on school property, so we don’t need to guess how the policy would work.”“There has yet to be a single case of someone being wounded or killed from a shooting, let alone a mass public shooting, between 6 AM and midnight at a school that lets teachers carry guns,” the study continues. “Fears of teachers carrying guns in terms of such problems as students obtaining teachers guns have not occurred at all, and there was only one accidental discharge outside of school hours with no one was really harmed.”
According to the strictest technical definition, there have been thirteen deadly mass shootings in the United States since 1966. While there are states that are now moving to implement stricter gun control laws in the aftermath of Uvalde — namely, Colorado, Connecticut, New York, and California — there are nearly as many states seeking to arm qualified teachers: Florida, Louisiana, and Ohio.
The debate will continue in the weeks and months ahead, as Americans are deeply interested in protecting schoolchildren. The House Democrats’ gun control package now heads to the Senate.