On Wednesday, the House voted 223 to 204 to pass H.R. 7910, also known as the Protecting Our Kids Act. While representatives voted mostly like a party leader, five Republicans voted in support of the measure, while two Democrats voted in support. If passed, the measure would raise the minimum age to purchase a semiautomatic firearm from 18 to 21, and establish a federal framework for gun theft and related conduct.
After a frightening and heartbreaking testimony from a Robb Elementary survivor, Miah Cerrillo''s fourth grader; Zeneta Everhart, her mother, a survivor of the Buffalo supermarket shooting; and Dr. Roy Guerrero, an Uvalde-based pediatrician, who treated shooting victims before and after the attack, the legislation was passed in the House. None of the speakers felt embarrassed by revealing a graphic picture of what they say.
What follows is a graphic description of gun violence.
Cerrillos'' statements revealed the horror of going to school with the shooter. The young girl noted that he told her teacher Goodnight before shooting some of her classmates, including her friend next to her. I thought he would come back to the room so I grabbed the blood and put it all over her, despite her fears. She discovered her teachers phone and call 911.
As he described how lasers like an AR-15 affect the human body, Dr. Guerreros noted that some of the kidnappers at Robb Elementary had to be identified by their tattered clothes, which had been rendered unrecognizable by bullets. (His report, however, had the word decapitated trending on Twitter.) I will never forget what I saw that day, he said. Those mothers cries, I will never get out of my head.
After seeing firsthand the carnage in my hometown of Uvalde, I wore an oath to do no harm. Inaction is harm. Passivity is harm. Delays are harm.
When a white supremacist attacked, Zaire Goodman walked out of his office less than two weeks before the shooting in Uvalde. Her voice was mixed with emotion, but she was clear and determined, demonstrating how violence against Black people affects America''s health and that all of it must be addressed. I encourage you to come back to my house to assist me heal Zaire''s wounds so that you may notice close the damage that my son has suffered to my community.
It would be clear that the majority of House Republicans were unmoved. Rep. James Comer (R- KY) said that knee-jerk actions to impose gun control policies that aim to protect our constitutional right to bear arms aren''t the answer, and that such actions vilify responsible gun owners. Reps. Jared Golden (D-ME) and Kurt Shrader have joined their Republican colleagues.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, one of five other Republicans to vote with Democrats, noted that support of the Second Amendment and gun safety measures aren''t mutually exclusive. I am a strong advocate of the Second Amendment and all of the protections it entails. I believe that we have no greater responsibility as leaders, no greater responsibility as human beings, than to protect our children and to keep our communities safe.
While the measure passed the House, handily if not by a large margin, and President Joe Biden has signaled that he will sign gun reform into law, the Senate''s fate appears murky. GOP opposition to tightening gun laws makes it unlikely to have enough votes to pass both chambers of Congress.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit that tracks and documents gun violence and gun crime in the United States, there have been 38 mass shootings since Uvalde and 54 since Buffalo.