(EFE).- The United States’ Democrat-led Lower House on Wednesday passed legislation to tighten gun laws after the recent shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, although it is expected that it will fail in the Senate.
The bill contains the toughest gun control measures the House has passed in decades.
The Protecting Our Kids Act proposes raising the age at which semi-automatic rifles can be purchased from 18 to 21, and bans large-capacity magazines. Both 18-year-old shooters in Uvalde and Buffalo carried AR-15 style assault rifles.
It also proposes measures to regulate home-assembled weapons, known as “ghost guns” because they lack serial numbers and are often used in shootings.
The act was approved with 223 votes in favor and 204 against. Five Republicans broke with their party and endorsed the measure, while two Democrats voted against.
Wednesday’s debate in the House was marked by passionate speeches by Democratic lawmakers such as Sheila Jackson Lee, who considered that this was a historic moment to end armed violence.
In the chamber, some legislators wore orange ties, the color that has been adopted as a symbol of safety as it is associated with hunting clothes, road safety markers and caution signs.
The House of Representatives will also vote Wednesday night on a second bill known as the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act.
This legislation seeks to extend to the entire country the so-called red flag laws that have been approved by around 20 states such as California, New York and Florida and that allow the activation of a legal procedure to confiscate the firearms of those who are thought to present a danger to themselves or others.
The votes take place after a committee of the Lower House heard Wednesday the testimonies of survivors of the Uvalde school shooting, in which 19 students and two teachers died, as well as those of the attack in a Buffalo supermarket, which claimed the lives of 10 African-Americans and is being investigated as a hate crime.
Among the witnesses at the hearing was Miah Cerrillo, an 11-year-old girl who survived the shooting in Uvalde and who described to lawmakers the nightmare of that day, when she smeared herself with a friend’s blood to play dead and save her own life.
“I don’t want it to happen again,” she said, and when he asked her what she wanted, she said: “To have security.”
It is quite possible that neither of the two House initiatives will even be debated in the Senate, since Republicans have the power to block legislation with a filibuster.
In the Senate, a group of Democrats and Republicans are negotiating a more moderate bill with provisions to increase background checks and limit the sale of the components of some guns, a minimum proposal on which they hope to reach an agreement before for the week to end. EFE
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