First House Republican backs bill banning assault weapons

Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) KingOn The Money: 3 million more Americans file for unemployment benefits | Sanders calls for Senate to 'improve' House Democrats' coronavirus bill | Less than 40 percent of small businesses have received emergency coronavirus loans GOP Rep. Pete King to buck party, vote for Democrats' coronavirus relief bill Bipartisan lawmakers call for Postal Service relief MORE (N.Y.) is the first House Republican to back a bill in the chamber seeking to ban assault weapons.

"They are weapons of mass slaughter," King told the New York Daily News on Monday shortly after his support for the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 as a co-sponsor became public on Congress's website.

“I don’t see any need for them in everyday society,” he added.

The bill, rolled out in February by Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineTrump, GOP go all-in on anti-China strategy Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting House Democrat to introduce bill cracking down on ad targeting MORE (D-R.I.), has 200 Democratic co-sponsors.

It would ban semi-automatic firearms and large-capacity magazines, proposals which have drawn more attention following back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left a combined 32 dead and dozens more injured earlier this month.

While King had previously backed background checks for gun purchases, the two tragedies moved him to support Cicilline's bill.

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"I think the assault weapons ban is timely now, especially in view of the shooting in El Paso and Dayton," he told the Daily News.

Cicilline praised King for becoming the first Republican to back his bill.

“These weapons belong on the battlefield, not in our homes, schools, houses of worship or workplaces," he said, according to the Daily News.

"I’m pleased that Congressman King has joined this effort. I sincerely hope that more of my Republicans colleagues will put their service to our country and the safety of their constituents ahead of their need to raise campaign money from the gun lobby.”

Despite the new support, a ban on military-style weapons won't become law anytime soon even if it passes the Democratic House.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRosenstein steps back into GOP crosshairs Biden to deliver remarks in Philadelphia Tuesday on nationwide protests Senate Republicans urge Trump to tone down rhetoric on protests MORE (R-Ky.) has vowed to not bring such legislation to the upper chamber's floor. President TrumpDonald John TrumpSessions accepts 'Fox News Sunday' invitation to debate, Tuberville declines Priest among those police cleared from St. John's Church patio for Trump visit Trump criticizes CNN on split-screen audio of Rose Garden address, protesters clashing with police MORE has also expressed opposition to the bill.