Last week, the House Judiciary Committee met to consider eight pieces of gun control that were packaged together in the “Protecting Our Kids Act.” The act was a response to the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and the rising issue of gun violence in the country. On June 8, 2022, those bills, which would tighten the regulations of “ghost guns” and bump stocks, create firearm safe storage requirements, ban high-capacity magazines, and raise the age limit for purchasing semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 countrywide, passed largely on party lines through the House.
It now faces an uncertain — but probably not positive — future in the Senate.
Unsurprisingly, the bill passed largely along party lines with a 223-204 vote. A handful of Republicans crossed party lines, however, those that did aren’t returning to Congress next term, according to ABC News. Given the evenly divided Senate and arcane filibuster rules that require a super-majority for legislation to pass, the reality is that even though it easily passed Congress, the “Protecting Our Act” is very likely to fail when it reaches the Senate.
As ABC News points out, it’s not a surprise the act will stall in the Senate and even though it will, the bill serves another purpose. “It's intended to put pressure on Republicans who have been hesitant to enact — or outright blocked — reform at the federal level,” the publication reports, “despite growing calls for change.”
The House vote comes a day after parents of Uvalde victims and survivors testified at the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on gun violence, according to The Washington Post. At the hearing, several advocates — parents of victims who died, child survivors themselves, doctors who treated victims who described children as being decapitated by bullets — urged Congress to pass stronger gun control measures, including parents of children who died at Rob Elementary school.
Kimberly Rubio, whose daughter Lexi was killed at the school shooting in Uvalde, testified and urged lawmakers to make swift gun control measures. She asked Congress to use a nationwide red-flag law, expand background checks, raise the age to buy a gun to 21, and ban assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.
“Somewhere out there, a mom is hearing our testimony and thinking to herself, ‘I can’t even imagine their pain,’ not knowing that our reality will one day be hers unless we act now,” Rubio said through tears.