First House Republican backs bill banning assault weapons

Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) Thomas KingHotel industry mounts attack on Airbnb with House bill Obama's tan suit controversy hits 5-year anniversary First House Republican backs bill banning assault weapons 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 CicillineO'Rourke's debate moment reignites gun debate on Sunday shows Sunday shows - Guns dominate after Democratic debate Cicilline: O'Rourke's AR-15 comment 'doesn't help' 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 McConnellO'Rourke responds to Buttigieg's gun criticism: 'That calculation and fear is what got us here in the first place' Cicilline on Trump investigations versus legislation: 'We have to do both' The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Ky.) has vowed to not bring such legislation to the upper chamber's floor. President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE has also expressed opposition to the bill.