Democrats line up three gun bills in early House Judiciary return

The bills could lob political pressure onto Senate Republicans to respond to recent mass shootings

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee, speak to reporters about the testimony from former special counsel Robert Mueller on July 2019. Nadler announced the committee will consider three gun control bills when it convenes Sept. 4. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Judiciary Committee will consider three gun control bills when it convenes September 4, an early return from a summer break that could lob political pressure onto Senate Republicans to respond to recent mass shootings.

The committee announced Friday it will mark up a bill to outlaw large capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices, along with a bill that would prevent people who have been convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime from owning a weapon.

[Gun control legislation again faces political headwinds following three deadly shootings]

And the committee also will consider a bill that would establish a grant program to encourage states to adopt laws that allow courts to take firearms away from people suspected of being a danger to the public, so-called red flag laws. That bill also would incorporate provisions from a similar bill that would allow federal courts to issue such protective orders.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., announced the panel also would hold a hearing on “military-style assault weapons” on September 25.

“There is more that we can and must do to address the gun violence epidemic,” Nadler said in a statement. “We will not sit idly by. I call on my Senate colleagues to join us in this effort by swiftly passing gun safety bills the House has already passed and also by acting on the additional bills we will be considering.”

The Senate has not brought to the floor the House-passed legislation to expand background checks to cover all firearm purchases and to lengthen some wait times under that background check system. President Donald Trump has not called for votes on either measure.

But Trump did voice support for “red flag” laws in an August 5 televised address after shootings that killed at least three at a festival in California, 22 at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and nine in an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio.

House Democrats are jumping on those comments. “We can move quickly to pass this bill and empower more law enforcement agencies with life-saving tools to intervene when people may pose a threat to themselves or others,” Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., said after Trump’s address. “These policies have already saved lives in states across the country. What are we waiting for?”

In Dayton, the shooter used a magazine capable of holding 100 rounds, Nadler said in the statement.

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