House Democrats are actually, legitimately moving on gun control

Of course, whether any of their proposals actually become law is a different question entirely.

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Just days after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, rocked a normally complacent American public out of its typical c’est la vie daze regarding the country’s addiction to firearms, Democratic lawmakers have already begun readying a host of bills aimed at curbing gun violence — even as the odds the proposed legislation actually makes it into law grow slimmer by the hour.

Speaking at an anti-gun violence event in San Francisco on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed to bring an assault weapon ban to Congress, telling attendees that “we will be having a hearing and marking up the assault weapon ban” as early as next week. Pelosi’s announcement came just before the House Judiciary Committee prepared Thursday to take up a slate of additional gun control measures, dubbed the “Protecting our Kids Act,” which includes new federal trafficking laws and boosts the age to purchase certain weapons from 18 to 21.

In his opening remarks, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler listed the most recent mass shootings — from the racist massacre in Buffalo, New York, to the shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Wednesday evening — before citing the Talmudic axiom that “whoever takes one life it’s as if he kills the entire world.”

“Whoever saves one life,” Nadler continued, “it’s as if he saves the entire world.”

Even if Pelosi and Nadler deliver on their promises to bring these new gun control measures to a full vote — and despite overwhelming public support for new gun control laws — it’s unlikely that Senate Democrats will be able to pass the bills should they reach the upper chamber, where Republican opposition is likely to block the necessary 60 votes. While President Biden has claimed that “everybody’s getting more rational about” an assault weapon ban (“At least, that’s my hope and prayer,” he added), a separate, bipartisan Senate group is reportedly working on its own response to the Uvalde massacre, which includes strengthening background checks and red flag laws. The bipartisan group is not, it seems, discussing actually banning certain types of guns, which should give you a sense of what the upper chamber sees as both a priority, and as having even a remotely likely chance of passing.

Meanwhile, while Democrats make their likely doomed — albeit well-intentioned — moves to pass long overdue gun control legislation, the Supreme Court is poised to deliver a ruling that will likely dramatically expand the rules governing who can carry handguns and where.