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House Judiciary Committee to return from August recess early to consider gun bills

Mayors urge bipartisan action on gun control

The House Judiciary Committee will return early from August recess to consider three bills that address gun violence in the wake of two deadly mass shootings earlier this month. Both the House and Senate are currently on their August recess and don't plan to be back in session until after Labor Day.  

Committee Chair Rep. Jerry Nadler announced the move on Friday, saying the refrain of "thoughts and prayers" from lawmakers in the aftermath of gun violence has "never been enough."  

"To keep our communities safe, we must act," said Nadler.  

The move comes after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer implored his Republican colleague, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to bring lawmakers back to Washington for an emergency session on gun control. McConnell, however, showed few signs that he would bring the Senate back to act on such legislation. 

McConnell has not yet brought up two House measures passed earlier this year to expand background checks. He also is currently recovering from surgery after breaking his shoulder in an accident earlier this month. 

The bills currently being considered by the committee include:

  • The Keep Americans Safe Act, which aims to ban high capacity ammunition magazines
  • The Extreme Risk Protection Order Act/ Red Flag laws, which would prevent those deemed a risk to themselves or others from getting guns
  • The Disarm Hate Act, which would prevent those convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from owning guns

The committee will also hold a public hearing to address the use of assault weapons on September 25th. 

"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," said Nadler. 

Earlier this year, the Democratic-controlled House has approved a bill requiring background checks be performed on all gun sales, including at gun shows. A companion bill, also passed by the House, would allow for more time for sellers to receive background checks on potential customers. A ban on assault-style weapons was introduced back in January but has not been voted on in either the House or the Senate.

Rebecca Kaplan contributed reporting. 

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