© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People pay their respects at the Robb Elementary School memorial, where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in the deadliest U.S. school shooting in nearly a decade, in Uvalde, Texas, U.S. May 30, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello
By Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. House of Representatives committee on Thursday will take up a bill aimed at toughening national gun laws following the Texas school shooting that killed 19 young children and two teachers, though the measure has little chance of passing the Senate.
The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee will attempt to approve the 41-page “Protecting Our Kids Act” that would raise the legal age for buying certain guns to 21 from 18, clamp down on trafficking of weapons, and encourage their safe storage. It also would restrict large-capacity ammunition feeding devices.
Even if approved by the committee, Democrats face an uphill fight advancing it to President Joe Biden’s desk for enactment into law.
The full House had already passed legislation expanding background checks on gun buyers. The measure got the support of 219 Democrats but only eight Republicans in March, 2021. The Senate is not seen as having the necessary 60 votes out of 100 to advance it.
Meanwhile, a small bipartisan group of senators were using the week-long Memorial Day recess to determine whether they can come up with a bill that enough Republicans would embrace.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell this week said such legislation should deal with “mental illness and school safety” matters that may have fueled the massacre last week at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
It was unclear whether that would be broad enough for Democrats who have tougher background checks high on their agenda and many of whom want to ban rapid-fire assault type weapons.
The Uvalde shooting was carried out by an 18-year-old gunman who used an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle.