The U.S. House of Representatives this week passed a sweeping gun-control package titled, the “Protecting Our Kids Act” (POKA).
The House approved the eight measures that comprise POKA by a 223-204 vote, mostly along party lines.
Only two Democrats — Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon — voted against it while five Republicans — Reps. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Fred Upton of Michigan, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, and Chris Jacobs of New York — voted for it.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) spoke about the various components of POKA on the House Floor Wednesday:
- Anthony Brown’s Raise the Age Act, which would raise the lawful age to purchase an AR-15 styled semiautomatic assault rifle from 18 to 21 years old;
- Robin Kelly’s Prevent Gun Trafficking Act, which would establish new federal offenses for gun trafficking and straw purchasing;
- David Cicilline’s Untraceable Firearms Act, which would ensure that ghost guns are subject to existing federal firearms regulations;
- A trio of gun storage proposals—Rosa DeLauro’s Ethan’s Law, Elissa Slotkin’s Safe Guns, Safe Kids Act, and Sheila Jackson Lee’s Kimberly Vaughan Firearm Safe Storage Act—which would establish storage regulations that keep guns out of the hands of children and award grants for firearm storage assistance programs;
- Dina Titus’s Closing the Bump Stock Loophole Act, which would build on existing regulations banning the manufacture, sale, or possession of bump stocks for civilian use; and
- Ted Deutch’s Keep Americans Safe Act, which would ban the sale, manufacture, and illegal possession of gun magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
Gun control advocates were quick to praise the House’s passage of POKA.
“In the wake of Buffalo, Uvalde, Tulsa, and countless other shootings that don’t make headlines, the American people are demanding bold action from lawmakers — and the House is delivering,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety in a press release obtained by GunsAmerica.
“I applaud Speaker Pelosi for leading the charge, and I once again call on the Senate to follow the House’s lead and pass common-sense laws to keep American families safe,” he continued.
On the other side of the gun divide, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry trade association, blasted lawmakers for supporting measures that would chill the 2A rights of law-abiding citizens.
“This legislation isn’t a serious attempt to find common ground and effective answers. This was nothing short of a partisan effort to advance a radical gun control agenda,” said Mark Oliva, NSSF’s managing director of public affairs in an email to GunsAmerica.
“Many of the ideas included in this legislative package are unconstitutional, including denying Second Amendment rights to adults under the age of 21,” he continued. “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit just struck down California’s age-based gun ban as unconstitutional.
“The American public deserves better than what the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is delivering,” Oliva concluded.
POKA will now head to the evenly-divided Senate. There it will face an uphill battle as it will need 60 votes to overcome a GOP-led filibuster.
However, reports from Capitol Hill indicate that a group of bipartisan senators has been meeting in an attempt to find common ground on gun control.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) is spearheading the negotiations and keeping president Biden appraised of the progress.
.@ChrisMurphyCT tells gun safety advocates at rally outside Capitol he’s “preparing to succeed” in bipartisan negotiations on legislation.
“I am preparing to save lives,” he says.
— Liz Brown-Kaiser (@lizbrownkaiser) June 8, 2022
“He’s [Biden] giving us the space to negotiate the deal but we obviously need the president’s support and signature,” Murphy told NPR on Tuesday. “We don’t have an agreement, we don’t have anything to present to our colleagues or the White House. Yet.”
Murphy indicated that one of the priorities was to ban the sale of black rifles to adults under the age of 21.
is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.