Earlier this month the House Judiciary Committee passed three gun control bills, sending them on to the full House of Representatives for approval in the Democrat-controlled chamber. Now the committee’s back in session and holding a hearing on “Protecting America From Assault Weapons today. Don’t expect a vote to be taken on HR 1296, the gun ban introduced by Rep. David Cicillini (D-RI), but do expect plenty of testimony encouraging the passage of the bill when a vote is held. Democrats have invited several supporters of the ban to testify, including Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley.
Joining Whaley will be a doctor who helped victims during the El Paso mass shooting, law enforcement and policy experts.
Whaley has traveled to D.C. several times since the tragedy in Dayton, pushing for changes to the nation’s gun laws. The House of Representatives passed a bill in February that would require universal background checks for gun purchases, however it has since stalled in the Senate.
Last week, Whaley and Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl joined other local and state leaders at the Ohio Statehouse, urging gun reform legislation and asking lawmakers to support Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s 17-point plan to limit gun violence.
Longtime gun control activists Kristen Rand of the Violence Policy Center and David Chipman of Giffords will also be testifying in support of a ban on semi-automatic firearms, while Amy Swearer of the Heritage Foundation and Diana Muller of the DC Project will be on hand to explain why trying to ban the most popular rifle in the country today is a bad idea, both constitutionally and practically.
It will be interesting to see if the idea of banning and “buying back” semi-automatic firearms is brought up today. Rep. Cicillini’s bill grandfathers in firearms and magazines that are currently owned, but bans the future manufacture, sale, and possession of any new firearms or magazines. Democrats like Beto O’Rourke have “evolved” past that position and are now declaring that nothing less than a compensated confiscation will suffice in taking the guns “off the streets”. Will Judiciary Committee member (and former presidential candidate) Eric Swalwell repeat his campaign call for a ban and “buyback”? Will Cicillini, who also sits on the Judiciary Committee, defend his bill or offer to amend it to include a “buyback”? Now that President Trump is hinting that gun control is a non-issue with Democrats moving towards impeachment, do Democrats on Capitol Hill still keep their distance from calls for confiscation, or do they begin advocating for confiscation instead, playing to their base instead of trying to work a deal with the White House?
I suspect that any calls for a Swalwell-style gun ban and compensate confiscation scheme will be pretty muted today, but I’d also expect that to change as time goes on, especially if the Senate ends up not voting on any gun control measures. In fact, I’d say its likely that a year from now, whoever the Democrat candidate for president might be, they’ll be running on a campaign promise of banning “battlefield weapons of war” and pledging to “buy back” the millions of targeted guns legally owned by Americans.