These four Democrats voted against parts of the gun package
Four Democrats broke from the party and objected to aspects of a sweeping gun package the House passed on Wednesday, which was introduced in the aftermath of last month’s mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y. and Uvalde, Texas.
The House passed the Protecting Our Kids Act, a package made up of seven gun provisions, in a largely party-line vote of 223-204. One Republican did not vote.
The legislation in-part calls for raising the minimum age to buy a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21, banning civilians from using magazines with upwards of 15 rounds, and bolstering safe storage of firearms where minors could access the weapons.
Two Democrats — Reps. Jared Golden (Maine) and Kurt Schrader (Ore.) — joined most Republicans in voting against the full package.
Golden, in a statement following the votes, criticized House leadership for “hastily” moving on the gun legislation and keeping the measures as a single package rather than standalone bills.
“While a handful of the individual provisions in the two bills before us have the potential to garner bipartisan support, taken as a whole, the bills are too sweeping in their design and fall far short of the support necessary to become law and save lives,” he added.
The congressman said “Now is not a time for bills we all know will fail,” and praised the Senate for engaging in bipartisan negotiations on gun legislation.
In addition to voting on the entire package, House lawmakers also weighed in on each of the seven provisions separately. Only the full package, however, will be sent to the Senate for consideration.
Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told his colleagues in a letter last week that the chamber would vote on each provision separately “in order to place Republicans on record on each of these issues relating to gun safety.”
All seven provisions passed the House, Golden, who opposed a pair of background check bills last year, voted against five of the measures.
The measures he objected to call for raising the minimum age to purchase a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21, bolstering storage of guns in home where minors could access the weapons, and requiring that untraceable guns and firearms without serial numbers — known as ghost guns — undergo background checks and receive serial numbers.
He also voted against measures banning high-capacity magazines for civilians and imposing new federal crime offenses for gun trafficking and straw purchases of firearms — when someone who is not able to pass a background check purchases a weapon through a proxy.
The Maine Democrat supported provisions to ban civilian use of bump stocks and to require that the attorney general submit a report to congressional committees that includes information on people who were unable to buy a firearm because they were deemed ineligible by a background check.
Schrader, in addition to voting against the full package, also objected to the provisions that seek to raise the minimum age to purchase a semi-automatic weapon and ban civilians from using high-capacity magazines. He did not vote on the measure to bolster safe storage of firearms in home where minors may access the weapons.
Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Ron Kind (D-Wisc.) joined Golden and Schrader in opposing the provision to ban civilian use of high-capacity magazines. Kind also objected to the measure bolstering safe storage of guns in homes where a minor can access the firearms.
Golden also bucked his party earlier on Wednesday when he voted “no” on the rule setting up a vote on the gun package and the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, a bill that seeks to nationalize red flag laws — which would allow courts to order the removal of firearms from individuals believed to be a threat to themselves or others.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) joined Golden in voting against advancing the two pieces of legislation, even though she is the sponsor of the Safe Guns, Safe Kids Act, one of the measures included in the package that calls for safe storage of firearms in homes. She did, however, ultimately vote for the final passage of the full package and each of the individual provisions
The rule also included a resolution condemning the “great replacement theory” — a racist conspiracy theory, allegedly espoused by the suspected Buffalo gunman, that asserts that a deliberate effort is underway to replace white Americans with immigrants. The resolution also condemned the Buffalo massacre, honored the victims of the shooting and reaffirmed the House’s “commitment to combating White supremacy, hatred, and racial injustice.”
A spokesman for Slotkin told The Hill that the congresswoman voted against the rule to express frustration with how Democratic leadership handled the gun measures. She specifically took issue with all the measures being included in a single package, rather than the House considering each provision separately.
The congresswoman joined a coalition of Democrats last week in penning a letter to House leadership, asking that the measures in the sweeping package be brought up for individual votes. The group, led by Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), argued that holding votes on each measure separately would maximize support in the Senate and increase the chances of the bills clearing the upper chamber.
The House, however, ultimately went ahead with considering the legislation as a single package, while also holding votes on separate provisions.
A spokesperson for Golden told The Hill that the congressman voted against the rule in opposition to the gun legislation, noting that he is supportive of the resolution that condemned “great replacement” theory.