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Republicans, Democrats fight in Congress over gun violence prevention measures

Chris Graham
gun control
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A party-line U.S. House vote advanced a Republican effort to overturn the Biden administration’s ATF rule to tighten federal regulations on pistol braces.

The 219-210 vote in the House on Tuesday sends the bill, which calls for blocking the rule that would reclassify pistols with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles, and would also require that individuals who have pistols with stabilizing braces register them with the government by May 31, to the U.S. Senate.

Even if the bill were to pass the Senate, President Biden has signaled that he would veto it, so the votes in Congress are at best symbolic.

Among those pushing the bill the loudest is Sixth District Republican Ben Cline, who tweeted triumphantly on Tuesday that House Republicans had “just passed a bill to overturn the ATF’s tyrannical policy that would target Americans – specifically service-disabled veterans – who rely on pistol stabilizing braces.”

“We’ll continue our fight to stop the (administration) from trampling Americans’ right to keep and bear arms,” Cline said.

Democrats counter that the rhetoric from Republicans about braces being used by disabled veterans is cover for devices that effectively create assault weapons.

Pistol braces have been used in multiple mass shootings, which is why the ATF targeted them with the new rule.

“As our district reels from a deadly mass shooting last week, in the midst of Gun Violence Awareness Month, House Republicans are seeking to undermine reasonable, commonsense policies,” said Fourth District Democrat Jennifer McClellan, who voted against the Republican-led resolution.

“Pistol braces have been shown to be deadly accessories and were used in several mass shootings, including the recent school shooting in Nashville, the grocery store shooting in Boulder, and the LGBTQ+ nightclub shooting in Colorado Springs,” McClellan said. “It is unconscionable that House Republicans continue to prioritize special interests over the lives and well-being of Americans, even as we witness the deadly, devastating effects of gun violence day after day. I urge my Senate colleagues to vote against this measure, and I applaud President Biden for his willingness to veto this harmful resolution. We must do more to address the gun violence epidemic in Congress.”

As Republicans were playing that bit of parliamentary politics, Democrats waged an effort on their side to bring three commonsense gun violence prevention measures – to extend the deadline on background checks, an assault weapons ban and a bipartisan measure to make background checks universal – to the House floor for up-or-down votes.

“The American people deserve better. And we know that there are actions that we can take — and that’s why we are here to ask our colleagues to join us,” said Seventh District Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, who is helping lead the Democratic push.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].