Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D. Calif.) said Wednesday that Democrats would work on banning “assault weapons” as part of a flurry of activity on guns next week.
Speaking at a gun-control rally in San Francisco, Pelosi touted a package of eight bills Democrats are calling the “Protecting Our Kids Act” in response to recent high-profile shootings. Beyond reinstating the assault weapons ban, Pelosi said Democrats would seek to raise the age to buy “weapons of war” to 21 and outlaw “high-capacity magazines.” She cited the recent shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where the gunman legally obtained an AR-15 at the age of 18 as motivation for the ban.
“Why does it have to be this way?” Pelosi said, according to her office’s transcript. “Why do they need so many magazines and assault weapon bans [sic] and everything to go hunting? What’s that all about?”
Pelosi said the House will be “marking up the assault weapons ban” soon, but she did not offer further details. “Assault weapons” bills in the past have been bedeviled by the problem of how to define an “assault weapon”—something the Biden administration’s ATF nominee failed to do last week when he said he supported such a ban.
The proposed legislation also includes measures to ban already-illegal bump stocks and restrict access to “ghost guns.” If the bills pass the Democrat-led House, they would still need to overcome a filibuster in the Senate, which is working on its own bipartisan legislation. If passed, the package would represent the strictest set of gun laws to make it through a House of Congress in years and may pressure the Senate to pass restrictions of its own.
Another bill the House will take up is by Lucy McBath (D. Ga.), whose son was fatally shot in 2012. That bill is designed to institute an AMBER Alert–style system to quickly inform citizens and law enforcement when there is an active-shooter situation.
Pelosi said the House would also look to expand “red flag” laws. Those laws generally enable courts to temporarily remove firearms from individuals through an “extreme risk protection order.” Her comments come as Democrats and liberal interest groups are pushing for immediate action in response to the mass shootings in Uvalde as well as Buffalo, N.Y., and most recently Tulsa, Okla.
“So we just are trying to – trying to hit in every possible way,” Pelosi said.
The House Judiciary Committee met to mark up the bills today and they could get a full floor vote in the coming weeks.