Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath recalled the 2012 murder of her 17-year-old son during Thursday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun control.
‘Do we have the courage right here in this body to imagine the phone call parents in Uvalde received last week?’ she asked. ‘The phone call that confirmed our fear – our singular fear that my child is dead. That I was unable to protect them. Because I know that phone call,’ the Georgia lawmaker said.
McBath’s son Jordan Davis, who was black, was murdered by a white man at a Florida gas station following an argument over the volume of Davis’ music.
Michael David Dunn fired his gun at Davis and three other teenagers, killing Davis.
McBath’s political career was propelled by her national reputation as a gun control advocate in the wake of Davis’ death.
At Thursday’s hearing she remarked that that the Buffalo supermarket shooter was inspired by the ‘same racially motivated violence’ that got her son killed.
Lawmakers held a markup session for the ‘Protecting Our Kids Act,’ which combines eight pieces of legislation in the latest Congressional gun control push on the heels of mass shootings in Buffalo, Robb Elementary School in Uvalve, Texas and Wednesday night’s killings in Tulsa.
Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath recalled the murder of her son, a black boy who was shot by a white man over his music being too loud, remarking it was the ‘same racially motivated violence’ that inspired Buffalo’s supermarket shooter
Jordan Davis was gunned down and killed by a white man in 2012 over his playing of music at a Florida gas station
The bill would raise the purchasing age of certain semiautomatic centerfire rifles from 18 to 21 – as the shooters in Buffalo and Uvalve were both 18. It also goes after high-capacity magazines, ghost guns and bump stocks and mandates certain requirements for firearms storage on residential facilities.
Republicans remained firm in their resistance.
Republican Rep. Greg Steube of Florida argued that the law limiting high-capacity magazines would have unintended effects – and he held up his own guns to demonstrate, while participating in the hearing virtually.
‘I hope that gun isn’t loaded,’ Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee uttered at the sight, with Steube responding, ‘I’m at my house, I can do whatever I want with my guns.’
Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado argued that AR-15s, the gun style of choice in most recent U.S. mass shootings, had practical purposes.
‘In rural Colorado, an AR-15 is a gun of choice for killing raccoons before they get to our chickens,’ Buck said. ‘That is the gun of choice for killing a fox.’
The bill lawmakers are debating does not ban AR-15s.
‘Blaming the gun for what’s happening in America is small-minded,’ Buck also said. ‘It is a problem when we tell the American people that we have solutions and we don’t have easy soluations for what’s happening right now.’
Republican Rep. Greg Steube of Florida displayed his own collection of guns over Zoom during Thursday’s heated House Judiciary Committee hearing marking up gun control legislation
‘I’m at my house, I can do whatever I want with my guns,’ Rep. Greg Steube told Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee during Thursday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat from Texas, remarked: ‘I hope that gun isn’t loaded,’ when watching Rep. Greg Steube display his guns over Zoom
Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado argued that AR-15s, the gun style of choice in most recent U.S. mass shootings, had practical purposes like killing raccoons and foxes
Republican Rep. Tom McClintock of California suggested that ‘woke district attorneys’ aren’t using the laws already on the books – bringing up a favorite GOP punching bag, first son Hunter Biden.
‘Hunter Biden illegally acquired a handgun despite being an admitted drug addict. A handgun that ended up being taken out of a public trash can 500 feet from a school. He also lied on his firearms application,’ McClintock said. ‘Nobody’s prosecuting him.’
McClintock was referring to Biden answering no on a 2018 firearms permit to the question, ‘Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?’
Hunter Biden had already been discharged from the Navy Reserve over his cocaine use.
Republican after Republican argued that pushing the bill through was ‘premature’ since the Uvalve shooting – where 19 children and two teachers were killed on May 24 – was still under investigation.
The Judiciary Committee meeting was called during recess as an emergency session.
Republican Rep. Tom McClintock (left) of California suggested that ‘woke district attorneys’ aren’t using the laws already on the books – bringing up a favorite GOP punching bag, first son Hunter Biden (right)
A congressional staffer sported a rifle-shaped pin during Thursday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun control
‘You guys are smasming over this reflexive response,’ Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz said at one point. ‘And you call it an emergency hearing, right? And the basis for the emergency is what happened in Uvalve, and we all agree it was awful and tragic, but you’re not providing any thoughtful solutions that would actually reduce the likelihood of that.’
‘Spare us the spirited screaming,’ he urged Democrats.
Earlier he had suggested that arming more Americans might be appropriate.
‘I sort of like Congressman Massie’s legislation that maybe everyone who’s a voter on their way to vote ought to have the opportunity to carry a firearm to ensure that they’re not subject to any intimidation,’ Gaetz mused.
Democrats argued that it wasn’t just Uvalve, listing off mass shooting after shooting, starting with 1999’s Columbine.
‘As the youngest member of this committee, I need to address my Republican colleagues on the behalf of the generations of young people whom Republicans have condemned to grow up in fear that they will be gunned down in school,’ said 35-year-old Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones, who was 11 when Columbine happened.
‘You guys are smasming over this reflexive response,’ Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz said at one point. ‘Spare us the spirited screaming,’ he urged his House Democratic colleagues
Rep. Mondaire Jones (left), a New York Democrat, pressed Republican Rep. Dan Bishop on what measures he would support to decrease the number of mass shootings
Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline said of Bishop’s response: ‘I can translate that for you, he’s willing to do nothing’
Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert participated in Thursday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing virtually
Later Jones pressed Republican Rep. Dan Bishop on what measures he would support to decrease the number of mass shootings.
‘I wouldn’t let teachers prop doors open. I would make sure that police are not discouraged from going in and saving children who are being assaulted while the assault is going on,’ Bishop said. ‘I would not intimidate police and tell them they ought to cease to exist,’ he added, apparently alluding to progressive calls to ‘defund the police.’
Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline was not impressed.
‘I can translate that for you, he’s willing to do nothing,’ Cicilline said.
Democratic Rep. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania did yell about Uvalve.
‘Where is the outrage over the slaughter of 19 4th graders and their teachers?’ she asked her colleagues.
‘One of the children recounted how she took the blood of her dead friend lying near her and smeared herself with that blood to pretent to be dead. What have we taught our children? This is on our watch. Where is the outrage?’ she asked.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (left), a New York Democrat, Rep. Dan Bishop (center), a North Carolina Republican and Rep. Jim Jordan (right), an Ohi Republican, listen to a colleague during Thursday’s hearing
Dean pointed to polling that indicated that a majority of Americans want stricter gun control laws.
‘I will tell my friends on the other side of the aisle who for some reason stand against these common sense measures that would save lives not all lives but would save lives, you’re way behind the curve,’ she told Republicans. ‘Gun owners, Americans by and large, want these measures.’
‘I don’t know what bubble you’re living in,’ she said. ‘I guess surrounded by a powerful gun lobby trying to hold on to your seats. But the America is way ahead of you.’
An annoyed Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, asked Republicans at one point, ‘Are you here for our kids, or are you here for the killers?’
Much of the afternoon was eaten up by a discussion over amendments proposed by Republicans, but even GOP Rep. Tom Tiffany who proposed one of them, admitted he wouldn’t vote for the final bill even if his amendment got added.
Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican and prominent libertarian, proposed expanding the carve-out in the bill that allows for military members ages 18 to 20 to have guns to all men aged 18 to 20 that sign up for the selective service, which is mandatory for that gender and age group.
The amendment would essentially hollow-out the age requirement in the legislation, but only for males, Democratic Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania pointed out, calling Massie’s amendment ‘bizarre.’
The amendment was voted down 24-19.
The bill in question is expected to pass the Democrat-led House, but stall in the Senate due the upper chamber’s filibuster rules.
President Joe Biden will, again, address the country on gun violence Thursday night, before heading to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for a long weekend.