The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday voted to approve various pieces of gun control legislation. Congress has faced pressure to "do something" about gun violence in America following recent mass shootings in Odessa, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and El Paso, Texas.
The Committee approved measures to implement Extreme Risk Protection Orders, commonly referred to as red flag laws, a ban on "high capacity" magazines and making those who are convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime prohibited possessors.
“More than 35,000 Americans lose their lives because of guns every year. Every day in America, on average, 34 people are murdered with a firearm. Gun violence of this magnitude is a distinctly American problem. A country to country comparison is shocking. For example, in 2011 the United Kingdom had 146 deaths due to gun violence; Denmark, 71; Portugal, 142; and Japan, just 30. But in the United States, more than 35,000. Even when you adjust for population differences, Americans are disproportionally killed by gun violence," Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said during the hearing.
“A recent study in the American Journal of Medicine found that, compared to 22 other high-income countries, the gun-related murder rate in the United States is 25 times higher," Nadler explained. "The president and others try to pin blame for gun violence on mental illness, but we know that the United States does not have a rate of mental illness that is 25 times higher than the rest of the world. That is clearly not the source of our gun violence crisis."
Republicans, including Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA), spoke out against the proposal.
"I am concerned about addressing this important issue, addressing the issue of mass shootings to combating the discouraging laws plaguing our urban communities. I stand ready to work with you on sensible solutions that will, that could actually prevent, these atrocities. What I am not willing to do is support legislation that will not do anything to make us safer and will simultaneously infringes on the rights and liberties guaranteed by our Constitution," Collins explained. "Unfortunately, all three of the bills we're considering today will do just that."
According to Collins, while the Extreme Risk Protection Act may seem like a "common sense measure," there are serious issues, especially relating to the lack of due process.
As Congress considers implementing red flags on a national level, gun rights groups have sounded the alarm. The danger behind ERPOs is the lack of due process. Firearms are seized before a hearing is held and a gun owner is able to defend themselves in a court of law. Democrats, however, assure Second Amendment supporters that due process is, in fact, part of the bill leaving the Committee.
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