A supermajority of House Democrats — 156 members of the 193-member conference — have signed on to a new bill that would restore and build on the expired ban on “assault weapons.”
The legislation, introduced by Reps. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), gained support over the weekend as most Democrats were at home in their districts. There’s no evidence that the Republican-controlled House would bring the bill to a vote, but the list of sponsors offers hints about whether the party’s politics are moving.
Two of the bill’s co-sponsors — Reps. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.) are running for Senate this year in states where owners of legal firearms are allowed to openly carry guns. Reps. Tim Ryan (Ohio) and Seth Moulton (Mass.), young Democrats who have campaigned throughout the country for party recruits and been critical of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), are also sponsors. So is Pelosi.
Deutch, who represents Parkland, Fla., and the victims of this month’s school shooting, said in a statement that the assault-weapons ban was a bipartisan idea.
“President Reagan supported the initial ban, which expired in 2004,” Deutch said. “Most Americans support the assault weapons ban. Now, it’s time for Congress to listen and pass sensible legislation to get these weapons of war off our streets.”
On Monday evening, Deutch read the names of the 17 people killed in the Parkland shootings. Democrats then tried, unsuccessfully, to bring up their bill.
Jeff Stein contributed to this report.