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 SherrillHillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant Bipartisan bill to secure election tech advances to House floor Our commitment to veterans can help us lead for all Americans MORE (N.J.) and Jason CrowJason CrowColorado rep planning sunrise run to possible sites for military memorial Bill introduced to give special immigrant visas to Kurds who helped US in Syria Congress set for showdown with Trump over Kurds 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 McConnellBiden: 'No party should have too much power' Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills 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 BidenPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump Warren, Buttigieg fight echoes 2004 campaign, serves as warning for 2020 race Trump: Giuliani to deliver report on Ukraine trip to Congress, Barr MORE, the Democratic presidential front-runner, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times on Sunday also backing the ban.