The Lower House of the United States, with a Democratic majority, approved this Wednesday an initiative to strengthen firearms controls after the chilling shootings in Uvalde (Texas) and Buffalo (New York), although it is very possible that it will not go ahead in the Senate.
The bill contains the toughest gun control measures the House has passed in decades.
The initiative, dubbed “Protect Our Children,” proposes raising the age at which semi-automatic rifles can be purchased from 18 to 21 and bans high-capacity bullet cartridges used in Uvalde and Buffalo by 18-year-olds.
It also proposes measures to regulate home-made weapons, known as “ghost guns” because they lack serial numbers and are responsible for a growing number of shootings.
That first initiative was approved with 223 votes in favor and 204 against. Five Republicans broke with their party and endorsed the measure, while two Democrats voted “no.”
The House of Representatives will also vote tonight on a second bill known as the “Federal Extreme Risk Protection Orders Act.”
This legislation seeks to extend to the entire country the so-called “danger alert” (“Red Flag”) laws that have been approved by states such as California, New York and Florida and that allow the activation of a legal procedure to confiscate the firearms of those who can represent a danger to themselves or others.
The debate in the chamber of the Lower House has been marked by passionate speeches by Democratic legislators such as Sheila Jackson Lee, who considered that this is “a historic moment” to end the “horrific” problem of armed violence.
Standing next to photos of the Uvalde victims and those killed in Buffalo, Jackson almost shouted, “As I stand here with the Uvalde children, they shouldn’t have died! As I stand here with the Buffalo kids, I don’t They should have died!”
In the chamber, some legislators wore orange ties, the color that has become a symbol against armed violence because it is the one worn by hunters to avoid being shot.
The votes take place after a committee of the Lower House heard this Wednesday the testimony of victims of the Uvalde school shooting, in which 19 students and two teachers died, as well as victims of the attack in a Buffalo supermarket, which was claimed the lives of ten African-Americans and is being investigated as a racist crime.
Among the witnesses at the hearing was Miah Cerrillo, an 11-year-old girl who survived the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and who described to lawmakers the nightmare of that day, when she had to cover herself with a friend’s blood to play dead. and save life.
“I don’t want it to happen again,” said the little girl in a video, who demanded “security” from Congress.
It is quite possible that neither of the two House bills will even be debated in the Senate, since Democrats have a narrow majority in that chamber.
In the Senate, a group of Democrats and Republicans is negotiating a more moderate bill with provisions to increase background checks and limit the sale of the components of some pistols, a minimum proposal on which they hope to reach an agreement before for the week to end.
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