There are a small number of House Republicans who have signaled their openness to supporting Joe Biden’s gun bans. It will be no surprise to anyone following politics for the last two years that perennial Democrat-supporting Congressman Adam Kinzinger is among them. In The Hill, Emily Brooks reports on the other GOP congressmen who could defect from their voters to support a ban on firearms for law-abiding citizens:
Two Republicans, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) and Rep. Chris Jacobs (N.Y.), expressed openness to such restrictions in the aftermath of the Uvalde massacre, which left 19 elementary school children and two teachers dead.
“I have opposed a ban fairly recently. I think I’m open to a ban now,” Kinzinger said on CNN Sunday when he was asked why private citizens need “weapons of war.”
“It’s going to depend on what it looks like because there’s a lot of nuances on what constitutes certain things, but I’m getting to the point where I have to wonder,” Kinzinger said. “Maybe somebody to own one, maybe you need an extra license. Maybe you need extra training.”
Jacobs said in a press conference and during a Buffalo News interview last week that he would support such a ban, but not confiscation of such weapons.
“If an assault weapons ban bill came to the floor that would ban something like an AR-15, I would vote for it,” Jacobs said.
The bipartisan Senate group that formed last week focused on two main proposals outside an assault weapons ban: expanding background checks and “red flag” legislation to bar those deemed a danger to themselves and others from possessing firearms.
The Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 expired in 2004, and reinstating an updated version of that has been a longtime priority for Democrats. Republicans have overwhelmingly resisted such measures — with a handful of exceptions.
A few other House Republicans have previously expressed support for banning military or assault-style weapons, usually after a mass shooting with a weapon of that type hit their own states. They have not been particularly vocal about their positions in the aftermath of the Uvalde massacre.
In the aftermath of the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting in 2018 that killed 17 people and injured 17 others, Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) announced support for banning assault weapons.
“The exact definition of assault weapon will need to be determined. But we should all be able to agree that the civilian version of the very deadly weapon that the Army issued to me should certainly qualify,” Mast wrote in a February 2018 New York Times op-ed.
Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) did the same after the Dayton, Ohio, shooting in 2019 in which a gunman killed nine people and wounded 17.
“I strongly support the Second Amendment, but we must prevent mentally unstable people from terrorizing our communities with military style weapons. I will support legislation that prevents the sale of military style weapons to civilians, a magazine limit, and red flag legislation,” Turner said in an August 2019 statement the day after the Dayton shooting. “The carnage these military style weapons are able to produce when available to the wrong people is intolerable.”
And Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) signaled an openness to banning such weapons in a statement soon after the Parkland shooting in 2018.
“All options must be on the table, including comprehensive background checks, a bump stock ban, prohibiting the sale of military assault weapons and full funding for gun violence research in a comprehensive manner that could have prevented tragedies like this,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement.
Polling from last year suggested that Republican voters are not expressing the same openness to an assault weapons ban. The Pew Research Center found that support for banning assault-style weapons among Republican and Republican-leaning adults fell from 54 percent in 2017 to 37 percent in 2021, as support slightly increased among all voters from 80 percent to 83 percent.
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