Democratic veteran lawmakers call for return of assault weapons ban

Democratic veteran lawmakers call for return of assault weapons ban

Two Democrats familiar with assault weapons from their time in the military say that “mass shootings are occurring at an alarming rate” and are calling for lawmakers to reinstate a ban to keep the high-capacity firearms out of civilian hands.

“Mass shootings are occurring at an alarming rate and will continue unless we stop the easy access to weapons of war,” Democratic Reps. Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillDemocrats ramp up calls to investigate NOAA Overnight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe The Hill's Morning Report - US coastline readies for Hurricane Dorian to make landfall MORE (N.J.) and Jason CrowJason CrowOvernight Defense: Trump ousts Bolton in shocker | Fallout, reaction from GOP senators | Senate spending talks in chaos | Dems eye vote to nix Trump border emergency Swing-seat Democrats oppose impeachment, handing Pelosi leverage Second Democrat representing Trump district backs impeachment MORE (Colo.) wrote in an op-ed published on Monday in USA Today.

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“We’re intimately familiar with assault weapons designed for military use. While serving in the Army and Navy, we both experienced the rigorous training required of all military personnel who carry them. And we know the purpose of a gun that can fire hundreds of rounds in minutes. It’s not for hunting or for civilian self-defense. It’s for warfare.”

Sherill served in the Navy and Crow served in the Army.

The pair also touted “common sense” gun laws from their states, highlighting Colorado’s universal background check legislation and New Jersey’s claim to have the “strongest gun laws in the nation.”

Their call for an assault weapons ban follows two mass shootings last week in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left more than 30 people dead and dozens of others injured. Both shootings featured assault-style weapons.

“Since returning home from our tours of duty, we have watched in horror as military assault rifles have found their way into our schools, malls, movie theaters, music festivals and places of worship, giving a single disturbed individual the power to inflict mass casualties. Each time, Americans cry out for leadership while Congress refuses to act,” they wrote. 

The two members of Congress also called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDC statehood push faces long odds despite record support Overnight Energy: California, 23 other states sue Trump over vehicle emissions rule | Climate strike protests hit cities across globe | Interior watchdog expands scope of FOIA investigation | Dems accuse officials of burying climate reports Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts MORE (R-Ky.) to bring gun control measures that have passed in the House to the floor in the upper chamber.

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ... must stop playing political games and bring gun safety bills to the Senate floor. Senators must have the courage to tell the American people where they stand and not hide behind the majority leader any longer.” 

The Democratic-controlled House passed a universal background check bill in February, which McConnell has not called for a Senate vote. 

An assault weapons ban has not been in place since 2004, when a 1994 bill signed by former President Clinton expired. 

Clinton, in the wake of the recent shootings, has urged lawmakers to reinstate the bill. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenUkrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' Warren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll MORE, the Democratic presidential front-runner, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times on Sunday also backing the ban.