Most House Democrats get behind effort for new assault-weapons ban

Feb 27, 2018
  • By David Weigel
  • The Washington Post
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
In this Feb. 21, 2018, photo, school students from Montgomery County, Md., in suburban Washington, rally in solidarity with those affected by the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, at the Capitol in Washington. Member of Congress return from a 10-day recess under enormous pressure to respond to gun violence after the Parkland high school shooting. Despite a long list of legislative proposals, including many flowing from President Donald Trump, few ideas seem poised for passage.

A supermajority of House Democrats — 156 members of the 193-member conference — have signed on to a new bill that would restore and build on the expired ban on "assault weapons." 

The legislation, introduced by Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., and Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., gained support over the weekend as most Democrats were at home in their districts. There's no evidence that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives would bring the bill to a vote, but the list of co-sponsors drops hints about whether the party's politics are moving. 

Two of the bill's co-sponsors — Rep. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, are running for Senate this year in states where legal gun owners are allowed to openly carry firearms. Both Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., young Democrats who have campaigned around the country for party recruits and been critical of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, are also co-sponsors. But so is Pelosi. 

Deutch, who represents Parkland, Florida, and the victims of this month's deadliest school shooting, said in a statement that the assault weapons ban was a bipartisan idea. 

"President Reagan supported the initial ban, which expired in 2004," said Deutch. "Most Americans support the assault weapons ban. Now it's time for Congress to listen and pass sensible legislation to get these weapons of war off our streets." 

On Monday evening, Deutch read the names of the 17 people killed in the Parkland shootings. Democrats then tried, unsuccessfully, to bring up their bill.