Here are the Democrats who aren’t co-sponsoring an assault weapons ban

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Democrats are wading into a politically fraught debate on gun control, one that includes a push to pass an assault weapons ban bill in the House.

While the overwhelming majority of the House Democrats back the legislation, sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), more than two dozen lawmakers in the 235-member caucus have not signed on as co-sponsors of H.R. 1296, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019.

{mosads}The measure, which would revive the 1994 statute that expired 10 years later, has one Republican co-sponsor: Rep. Pete King (N.Y.).

The Hill reached out to the offices of all 26 Democratic lawmakers who aren’t officially backing the measure. Lawmakers with an asterisk represent a congressional district that President Trump won in 2016.

Rep. Sanford Bishop (Ga.)

“I supported the Assault Weapons Ban in 1994. I will likely support this bill, but I am concerned there are some legitimate uses that could be prohibited by the current form of the bill,” Bishop said in a statement to The Hill.

Rep. Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.)*

Did not respond to a request for comment.

Brindisi told Newsweek in an article published this month, “Generally, I’m not supportive of bans, because I think that we have to focus on sensible gun legislation that we can actually get passed.”

“And when you have 9 out of 10 Americans saying that they support something like background checks, to me, that’s where we should be focusing the bulk of our energy right now when it comes to gun legislation,” he added.

Rep. Cheri Bustos (Ill.)*

“Congresswoman Bustos cosponsored and helped pass legislation to close the ‘Charleston loophole’ and enforce background checks on all gun purchases – she will evaluate other legislation as it moves through committees of jurisdiction and to the House floor,” said Sean Higgins, communications director for Bustos, who is head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Higgins added that Bustos has called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to “pass the commonsense, bipartisan House bills to reduce gun violence.”

Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas)

Did not respond to a request for comment.

The New York Times reported that Cuellar does not support an assault weapons ban.

“I am for reasonable gun reform,” he told the Times. “But I’m not going to take guns away from people like they want to do.”

Rep. Joe Cunningham (S.C.)*

Did not respond to a request for comment.

In an interview with McClatchy, Cunningham said, “AR-15s, I’ve said that these weapons belong in the hands of our military and our police. I’ve got some serious concern based on what’s happened here in South Carolina in the past, of our police officers showing up to a routine domestic dispute call or serving a warrant and then being on the wrong end of an AR-15. I don’t think this is going to go away with one piece of legislation. I don’t think there is one singular cure for this. It’s going to take a combination of things.”

Rep. Sharice Davids (Kan.)

“Yes, Rep. Davids is supportive of H.R. 1296,” press secretary Johanna Warshaw told The Hill.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.)

Did not respond to a request for comment.

In a March 2018 letter to his constituents, DeFazio, who voted against the Assault Weapons Ban in 1994, said he is “open to legislation that would effectively ban military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines.”

Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (Texas)

“Congresswoman Fletcher supports a ban on military-style assault weapons, and has been talking with constituents about this issue and related legislation,” communications director Alaina Berner told The Hill.

Rep. Jared Golden (Maine)*

Did not respond to a request for comment.

Golden is one of two Democrats who did not vote for H.R. 8, the universal background check bill that the House passed earlier this year.

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (Texas)

“The Congressman supports a high capacity magazine ban, stronger background checks, and wants to take a closer look at restricting the availability of military grade weapons,” Gonzalez’s press secretary told The Hill.

“He voted in favor of the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. Regarding H.R. 1296, he does not oppose it, but wants to review it more thoroughly as well as has some questions about the ‘ban’ function of the bill. He plans to speak to the author of the bill, Congressman David Cicilline upon the House reconvening. Once they speak, he will decide how to move forward regarding the bill.”

Rep. Kendra Horn (Okla.)*

Did not respond to a request for comment.

Rep. Andy Kim (N.J.)*

Did not respond to a request for comment.

Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.)*

Did not respond to a request for comment.

Kind told The Washington Post in an article published this month that there is still some doubt about the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban in rural districts.

“How do we define it in such a way where there are clear lines of legal authority so you’re not making criminals out of people who are confused about what the definition is?” Kind said. “I think that’s something that you have to certainly address and make sure that they tighten up if the experience with the assault weapon ban was any indication.”

Rep. Conor Lamb (Pa.)*

Did not respond to a request for comment.

According to NBC News, Lamb indicated in an August town hall that he did not support an assault weapons ban.

Rep. Ben McAdams (Utah)*

Did not respond to a request for comment.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, McAdams did not support an assault weapons ban in 2012 when he was mayor-elect of Salt Lake City.

“We have to take a holistic approach,” McAdams said at the time. “We need to develop tools to address the underlying aspects of all this, including mental health issues.”

Rep. Tom O’Halleran (Ariz.)*

Did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the Lake Powell Chronicle, O’Halleran initially opposed an assault weapons ban but changed his mind after the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

“At times you have to look at yourself in the mirror and do the right thing and say forget about the political consequences,” O’Halleran said, according to the October 2018 article.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.)

Pelosi’s office declined to specify her position on the bill, but as Speaker she rarely co-sponsors legislation.

When asked at a press conference in February if she was committed to holding a floor vote on legislation that would restore the assault weapons ban, Pelosi responded, “Well, the Judiciary Committee and the committees of jurisdiction will review any proposals that we have on any subject. And what they have prioritized — and in addition to the committee, we have a task force headed up by Congressman Mike Thompson of California, who has worked in a bipartisan way to protect the American people.”

“It’s up to the committee and the task force to make their proposals as we go forward,” she added. “We do think that keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them probably saves the most lives.”

Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.)*

Did not respond to a request for comment.

According to a September article in the Star Tribune, Peterson opposes an assault weapons ban and said in an interview that most Democrats “don’t know the difference between a BB gun, a shotgun and a rifle.”

Peterson was one of two Democrats who did not vote for the House’s universal background check bill.

Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.)

Did not respond to a request for comment.

According to a February article in The Washington Post, Schrader opposes an assault weapons ban.

“I’m not big on going a whole lot further than what we’re talking about here right now,” Schrader said in an interview about background checks and “red flag” laws. “You know, the Second Amendment’s pretty crystal clear. I want to make sure the right people have weapons to defend themselves and enjoy themselves, and that people who shouldn’t have them don’t have them. And that’s where these bills are.”

Rep. Terri Sewell (Ala.)

“Rep. Sewell supports the assault weapons ban, and intends to co-sponsor the legislation when we get back from [August] recess,” Sewell’s communications director, Jackie McGuinness, said in an email.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin (Mich.)*

Did not provide a comment for this story.

“I think it’s an extremely controversial issue,” Slotkin said in a Newsweek article published this month. “There’s certainly people lobbying me in my district on both sides of the issue. But I think we also have to do what’s right for the protection of our kids in schools and we have to acknowledge what’s going on [with] the ability of some of the semi-automatics to induce huge consequences. A ban is not the only option, but it is something we should be considering. I think it’s right to be having the discussion.”

Rep. Mike Thompson (Calif.)

“Congressman Thompson carried an assault weapon in combat in Vietnam. He knows what they were designed to do and what they are capable of doing,” chief of staff Melanie Rhinehart Van Tassell told The Hill. “He believes assault weapons should not be on our streets.”

Thompson is chairman of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.)*

Did not respond to a request for comment.

The Las Cruces Sun News reported this month that when Torres Small was asked about her position on gun control at a recent town hall meeting, she responded, “The Second Amendment right comes with its responsibilities, and that’s why I voted for comprehensive background checks. Because I think, like most gun owners do, that we have to act responsibly and make sure we’re keeping our communities safe.”

Rep. Lauren Underwood (Ill.)*

Did not respond to a request for comment.

In late August, the Kane County Chronicle reported that Underwood said she would support a bill called The Keep Americans Safe Act that would place a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (N.J.)*

Communications Director Mackenzie Lucas said in an email to The Hill that Van Drew supports the legislation.

Rep. Filemon Vela (Texas)

Did not respond to a request for comment.

Vela voted in support of H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019.

Mike Lillis contributed.

Tags assault weapons ban Cheri Bustos Collin Peterson David Cicilline Donald Trump Elissa Slotkin Filemon Vela Gun control gun violence prevention Joe Cunningham Kendra Horn Kurt Schrader Lauren Underwood Mike Thompson Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Pete King Peter DeFazio Ron Kind Second Amendment Sharice Davids Terri Sewell

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