A mass shooter with an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon killed at least 18 people in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday and injured many more. Republicans in Congress have consistently blocked legislation that would have banned the sale and possession of the AR-15 and other assault weapons.
In 1994, Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed a 10-year ban on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The National Rifle Association opposed the law, and its Republican allies in Congress have blocked efforts to renew it for two decades.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed a bill in 2022 that would have prohibited the possession or sale of semi-automatic rifles and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices. Nearly all House Republicans opposed it, claiming: “Democrats know this unconstitutional bill will not stop violent crime or reduce the likelihood of mass shootings, but they are obsessed with disarming law-abiding Americans and limiting their Constitutional rights.”
Pennsylvania Republican Reps. John Joyce, Mike Kelly, Dan Meuser, Scott Perry, Guy Reschenthaler, Lloyd Smucker, and Glenn “GT” Thompson each voted against the ban. They also voted against a 2022 red flag bill that would have allowed judges to temporarily take guns away from those deemed imminent dangers.
Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and Democratic Reps. Brendan Boyle, Matt Cartwright, Madeleine Dean, Dwight Evans, Chrissy Houlahan, Mary Gay Scanlon, and Susan Wild, voted for both bills.
Democratic Reps. Chris Deluzio and Summer Lee were not in Congress at the time but are co-sponsors of a current assault weapons ban bill.
“Sending prayers to Lewistown [sic], Maine tonight,” tweeted Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, who is a co-sponsor of a GOP bill to designate the AR-15 the national gun of the United States. “Know that the entire country is praying for you.”