Republicans lash out against Senate gun law and each other

GOP lawmakers in the House are tearing up a Senate gun control package created by a bipartisan group of senators, lashing out at fellow Republicans who support the legislation.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), co-chair of the Second Amendment Caucus, named the 14 Senate Republicans who voted Tuesday to advance the legislation RINOs — Republicans in name only.

“We all know Bernie Sanders is going to vote to take your guns. He ran on that platform. But I think it’s surprising that some of the other 14 senators who are committed to preserving Second Amendment rights have decided to turn their backs on their commitment,” Boebert said at a news conference on Wednesday.

“I am sure that unfortunately we will even see some in the House who have touted their support for the Second Amendment and that Americans have the right to keep and bear arms and they will fold,” Boebert said.

“We didn’t expect to play defense against Republican senators over the preservation of the Second Amendment,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), the other co-chair of the Second Amendment Caucus.

Former President Trump also weighed in and called Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), the lead Republican negotiator, a “RINO.” Trump also criticized Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who backs the measure.

The bill was drafted in the wake of a few shootings that shocked the nation.

Days after a racist shooting at a Buffalo supermarket killed 10 people, a gunman in Uvalde, Texas killed 19 elementary schools and two teachers.

The shocking crime led to the deal with the Senate and Congress is about to pass the first major congressional action in decades over gun control legislation.

Dubbed the Safer Communities Act, the bill includes enhanced background checks on juvenile records for individuals between the ages of 18 and 21; provides grants for red flag laws at the state level; close the “boyfriend loophole” for those convicted of domestic violence to buy guns; new penalties for firearms straw purchases and firearms trafficking; and expands funding for community mental health services.

For those calling on Congress to take action amid a plague of mass shootings, the bill doesn’t go far enough.

But it drew opposition from the House’s top two GOP leaders on Wednesday and will likely be opposed by the vast majority of the conference.

The red flag financing facility has provoked the most resistance from gun rights advocates.

“Red flag laws permit the preemptive seizure of firearms from Americans without due process by allowing a person to report a gun owner to the police and to petition for the seizure of that person’s firearms, even before the gun owner has a chance to defend himself,” the House of Representatives said. Freedom Caucus said Tuesday while announcing its formal opposition to the bill.

McConnell, one of 14 senators who supported the legislation, defended the measure, calling it “a common-sense package of popular steps that will help make these horrific incidents less likely, while fully enforcing the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Massie, who represents a district in McConnell’s home state, said the GOP Senate leader was acting in his capacity as a minority leader rather than as a senator representing the conservative state of Kentucky.

Rep. Dan Bishop (RN.C.) said McConnell is playing to the ideological center to build a slim majority.

“Personally, I don’t think America wants or needs that. I think America is looking for people to come out and explain to people what is the basis of the Second Amendment, why it exists, why we are essentially free because of it,” Bishop said. “I believe that will bring far more wins in the elections than chasing the last vote.”

House GOP leaders will formally whip members to vote against the bill.

A home GOP whip control announcement calls the legislation part of “an effort to slowly tear down law-abiding citizens”nd Modification rights.”

The bill “transforms law-abiding citizens under 21 into second-class citizens by creating a de facto waiting period of up to ten business days for legal, law-abiding firearms purchases,” according to the whip control.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) told their members in a House GOP Conference meeting on Wednesday that they would vote against the legislation, positions that garnered praise from House conservatives in the Second Amendment Caucus.

Some House Republicans are expected to vote for the Senate bill when it comes to the House.

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), whose district includes Uvalde, said on Wednesday that he supports Senate gun laws.

New York GOP representatives John Katko and Chris Jacobs, neither of whom are running for reelection, announced their support for the bill on Tuesday. Jacobs withdrew from his re-election campaign after receiving strong backlash from other Republicans when he spoke out in support of a ban on assault weapons after the Uvalde shooting.

Several other House Republicans could also vote yes to the bill. In a series of votes on a tougher gun bill passed by the House earlier this month, ten House Republicans voted to raise the age to buy guns from 18 to 21.

The vocal critics in the Second Amendment Caucus didn’t go so far as to say they would campaign against those who voted for the legislation. But several gun rights groups have called the bill a “key vote” and have campaigned aggressively against Republicans who have not voted their way in the past.

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