The 'Protect Our Kids Act' Could Begin to Fix America's Gun Problem. Will It Pass?
The House Committee is set to debate gun control in a new series of bills that could engender meaningful actions on guns.
Following the murder of 19 children and 2 teachers at Robb elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, The House Judiciary Committee is getting set to meet to consider eight pieces of gun control that will be packaged together in the “Protecting Our Kids Act.” Here’s what you need to know.
The legislation in the “Protecting Our Kids Act” that the House Democrats are meeting to discuss would do the following:
- Make it illegal to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a large-capacity magazine, with some exceptions
- Establish requirements regulating the storage of firearms in residential facilities
- Raise the age for purchasing a semiautomatic centerfire rifle from 18 to 21 years old
- Stiffen penalties for gun trafficking and straw purchases
- Build on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' regulatory ban on bump stocks, attachments to guns that make rapid-fire easier. Existing bump stocks would have to be registered, and the sale and possession by civilians of bump stocks would be banned
- Current federal firearms regulations would apply to “ghost guns” which are unregistered and untraceable homemade weapons that can be made with a 3D printer or assembled from a kit
The provisions would likely pass the Democratic-led House, however, it’s unlikely to overcome the evenly divided Senate or Republican-led filibuster. Democrats control a 50-50 majority and would require 60 votes to break the filibuster to pass the gun control legislation.
Republicans have been vocal in their opposition to any stronger gun control measures and over the years have broadly rejected any new restrictions. It’s not clear, however, if the latest mass shooting that killed 19 children and two children will change their stance — or if some common ground can be found to pass some stricter controls on who can buy guns and how.
Even still, nearly three-quarters of Americans think that gun violence is a big or moderately big problem, according to a Pew Research Center survey last year. Bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines have an even higher approval rating of over 60 percent in the US, according to Pew. Plus a majority of Americans think the epidemic of school shootings can be stopped if there are drastic changes in gun law legislation, according to a YouGov poll this week.
Republicans are likely to continue to push back against any new provisions. Guns are now the leading cause of death among young people in the U.S. and the numbers continue to climb. And the hard reality is that this is a uniquely American problem – and something has to change.