WASHINGTON, July 29 – The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on Friday on a bill to ban assault weapons, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to lawmakers.
The legislation, which Pelosi, a Democrat, called “a critical step in our continued fight against the deadly epidemic of gun violence in our country,” faces a tough road in the tightly divided U.S. Senate, where Republicans overwhelmingly oppose such a ban and have the power to block the legislation.
The latest anti-gun action comes after mass shootings in May at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and an elementary school in Uvalda, Texas, as well as at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois. The shooting left a total of 38 dead and reignited a long-running national debate about guns and the constitutional protection of the right to keep and bear arms.
A vote on the assault-style weapons bill was initially scheduled for early this week but was delayed as Democrats debated parallel legislation to increase police funding, a lifeline for vulnerable House moderates ahead of November’s general election.
Pelosi did not mention the police funding bill in her letter, saying only that “tremendous progress in our discussions” has been made on the entire package of public safety bills and that work continues.
A law banning assault weapons went into effect in 1994, but it expired 10 years later and several attempts to reinstate it have so far failed.
According to a 2021 study by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, the ban significantly decreased mass shootings.
Last month, Republicans in Congress protested a bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic assault weapons from 18 to 21, but the legislation was approved and signed into law by Democratic President Joe Biden.