“These red flag laws are also critical to reducing the largest form of gun deaths in our country: suicide by firearm,” he said. “As someone who lost one of my own siblings to suicide by a gun, I personally am proud to stand in this chamber today in her memory, Carmen, to see my bill come to a vote.”
Five Republicans joined Democrats in voting 224-202 to pass the bill, HR 2377, with one Democrat voting “no.” Georgia’s delegation split along party lines with all eight Republicans opposed and all six Democrats in favor.
Republican lawmakers who spoke against the legislation often claimed that “red flag” laws violate due process protections and are unconstitutional, even as Democrats countered that the laws already exist in many states and have held up to legal review.
Ohio U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan said the law would allow a judge to remove firearms from people alleged to be unstable or a threat without allowing them to face their accusers. The hurdles to appeal or recover the guns later are high, he said.
“That is why we are so, so against this measure and why it is so darn dangerous,” Jordan said. “They can say all day long it doesn’t violate due process; it most certainly does.”
Thursday’s vote comes the day after the House passed a separate bill that contained a slate of gun control measures, including raising the minimum age for purchasing a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21 years old, banning large-capacity magazines, creating new gun storage requirements, further restricting bump stocks that allow guns to be fired rapidly and regulating “ghost guns,” which are untraceable firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also said the House will at some point take a vote on whether to reinstate a ban on assault weapons.
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators led by Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy and Texas Republican John Cornyn is working on a separate proposal that is likely to be much narrower in scope. Including “red flag” language appears to be on the table in the Senate, although discussions are ongoing.
Senators have also discussed expanding background checks, adding money for school safety and implementing a waiting period for 18- to 21-year-olds to buy certain guns.