Judiciary Committee to cut recess short to take up gun measures
The House Judiciary Committee will return to Capitol Hill early next month to advance three gun control bills, the first concrete action by lawmakers to confront rising alarm about gun violence in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
On Sept. 4, the panel intends to approve measures to ban high-capacity magazines, to incentivize states to establish a process to prevent people deemed “a risk to themselves or others” from obtaining a firearm, and to prohibit people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from possessing guns.
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The committee, chaired by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), has also scheduled a Sept. 25 hearing focused on military-style assault weapons.
“These should not be partisan issues, and it is my hope we can move forward on these matters with support on both sides of the aisle, including the president,” Nadler said in a statement.
It’s unclear whether Trump will support any curbs on access to guns, in the face of longstanding Republican opposition.
Though the president indicated potential support for strengthening background checks during gun sales and “red flag” laws after the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings, Trump has yet to endorse any specific measures. His recent comments have focused on preventing people with mental illnesses from accessing weapons.
House Democrats debated returning early from their six-week August recess to address gun violence, but leadership and top lawmakers argued that the House had already passed multiple bills to strengthen background checks and that Senate Republicans should simply vote on those.
One measure passed in February would forbid anyone without a license from transferring firearms to another person, with a few exceptions. Another would prevent the transfer of a weapon from a licensed dealer if the background check system has not responded in a timely way.
The Judiciary Committee’s return will come less than a week before the full House is scheduled to end its summer recess, when many members are abroad on official delegations.