A package of stricter gun control bills aimed at preventing mass shootings such as what happened at an Uvalde, Texas, elementary school, passed the US House of Representatives on a mostly party-line vote on Wednesday.
Cindy Axne, Iowa’s lone Democratic representative, voted for the Protecting Our Kids Act, which passed the Democrat-majority House on a 223-204 vote. Iowa’s other three representatives, Randy Feenstra, Ashley Hinson, and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, all Republicans, voted against it.
Axne cited the Robb Elementary mass shooting in Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers, as well as the recent homicides of two women in Ames, as her reasons.
“The horrors we’ve recently seen—from the children killed at the elementary school in Texas to the two young women shot in the church parking lot in Iowa—have been too much,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “Tonight, I cast my vote to protect our children. Senators, it’s your turn.”
The act would, among other things:
- raise the legal age to buy certain semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21;
- establish new offenses for gun trafficking and selling large-capacity magazines, and allow local governments to compensate individuals who surrender such magazines through a buyback program;
- create a tax incentive for sales of safe storage devices, and criminal penalties for breaking requirements regulating home storage;
- strengthen existing federal regulations on bump stocks and “ghost guns,” or guns without serial numbers that are assembled with the help of 3-D printers.
Barring filibuster reform, however, the Senate is unlikely to pass it.
Republicans continue to insist that any measure to regulate firearms is against their interpretation of the Second Amendment, or what Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio called “God-given rights.”
Hinson, who represents northeast Iowa, said she prefers a Republican House bill that would attempt to solve the issue by funding more school counselors and police officers in schools. It would be paid for with money clawed back from states and local governments that hadn’t spent their coronavirus relief bill funding.
“We have to enforce the laws on the books and stop guns from getting into the wrong hands without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens,” Hinson said in a statement.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the GOP to task for their inaction.
“America has lost more children from gun violence than any other cause. Does that embarrass you?” she said. “To think that, in our country, more children have died from gun violence than any other cause?”
Progress Iowa said the act would “make our communities safer” in a statement Wednesday night.
“The vast majority of Americans are behind common sense gun laws,” executive director Matt Sinovic said. “The will of the people should matter more than power and profit. It’s time to take real action to prevent gun violence in our schools and communities.”
By Amie Rivers
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