Nadler says assault weapons ban will hit House floor ‘if we have the votes’
The head of the House Judiciary Committee said Thursday that Democratic leaders will hold a vote on an assault weapons ban — if they have the support to pass it.
Ahead of a special markup on gun reform legislation on Capitol Hill, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) ticked off the various proposals Democrats intend to bring to the floor next week. Those include “red flag” legislation and the package of eight different anti-gun violence measures the committee is marking up Thursday.
“And we’re working on the assault weapons ban,” he added, “and if we have the votes then we’ll take that to the vote, too.”
Nadler’s remarks came the morning after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Democrats would soon also be marking up an assault weapons ban in response to a pair of mass shootings last month, one in Buffalo, N.Y., where 10 people were killed in a grocery store, and another in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 fourth-grade students and two teachers were fatally shot. In both cases, authorities said the shooter used a military-style semiautomatic rifle of the kind the Democrats want to ban.
Following Uvalde, the Democrats’ initial legislative response did not mention the assault weapons ban, suggesting the party had not secured the support to pass it through the full House, where Democrats enjoy only a slight majority. Pelosi has earned a reputation for both counting votes accurately, and avoiding floor action on legislation that lacks the support to pass.
Pelosi’s announcement of a committee markup on the ban suggested leadership is making inroads in their search for votes, though she did not promise a vote on the floor, suggesting they’re not there yet.
Democratic aides say leadership is actively whipping to find those votes. In the meantime, it’s unclear if the Judiciary Committee would mark up the legislation even if it lacks support to pass on the floor. The committee is waiting for word from leadership on when — or if — to proceed.
“The need is obvious,” Nadler said Thursday. “We’re the only society on earth where parents have to compare their DNA to the bodies of their children because they’re unrecognizable.”