(The Center Square) – The U.S. House passed a “red flag” gun control bill Thursday as part of a legislative push in the aftermath of mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York.
The Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, which passed the House with a 224-202 vote, would allow a judge to prevent someone from purchasing a weapon if the judge decides they are dangerous.
Thursday’s bill did get five Republican votes but faces a Senate that has mostly remained gridlocked since Biden took office.
The move comes less than a day after the House passed and sent a gun-control package to a divided Senate late Wednesday, where the fate of the legislation remains up in the air.
That legislation would ban high-capacity magazines, raise the age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21, and institute new regulations around gun storage, creating multiple new criminal penalties in the process.
The divide in Congress and the heated battle over gun rights has revived calls among some Democrats to eliminate the filibuster to push the legislation through without the needed 60 votes.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, R-W.V. has been a swing vote for several controversial issues since President Joe Biden took office, and has called for a compromise that keeps the filibuster intact.
“The filibuster is the only thing that prevents us from total insanity,” Manchin said. “Total insanity.”
President Joe Biden appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night TV show Wednesday where he made the case for gun control legislation. He also told the audience to make guns a voting issue come November.
“You’ve got to make sure that this becomes a voting issue,” Biden said, urging them to make gun control a focal point for how they vote.
“It should be one of those issues,” he added.
Critics of proposed gun control legislation have argued that the new laws would not have stopped the mass shootings, assuming violent criminals would be willing to follow the laws in the first place.
“If changes to our laws is a response to the latest horrific tragedy then it should change that could have prevented that tragedy,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote on Twitter.
They also pointed to American cities that have strict gun control policies alongside high violent crime.
“The Democrats latest gun control bill mirrors the ineffective policies of blue cities that have the highest levels of gun violence in America,” said Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz. “This bill is simply another attempt by the left to dismantle the Second Amendment and confiscate guns from law-abiding Americans.”
Republicans have pointed to mental health issues, which are often involved in these shootings but have largely gone unaddressed.
The office of U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., pointed to introduced legislation, the Luke and Alex School Safety Act, which would codify some school safety measures and equip schools nationwide to raise their safety standards. They also pointed to the EAGLES Act, which would task the U.S. Secret Service with paying greater attention to school safety.
“Senator Scott believes in the Second Amendment and protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens,” said McKinley Lewis, communications director for Sen. Scott. “He encourages every state to look at the targeted action he took in Florida following the tragic shooting at Parkland to make our schools safer and keep weapons out of the hands of people who are mentally unstable, and who poses an imminent threat of violence to others or themselves, and determine what works best for their state.
“That’s why he’s fighting to pass common-sense legislation like the Luke and Alex School Safety Act, named after two victims of the horrific Parkland shooting, and continues to question the obviously vicious political motives of Chuck Schumer who blocked the passage of that bill and continues to lie about it,” he added.
The debate has heightened the partisan divide and heated rhetoric in Congress, ratcheting up the tone as the November midterm elections draw closer.
“The Socialist Squad spent $325,000 on private security last year,” said Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas. “Each one of them voted for gun control last night.”