House Democrats deploy rare tactic to force GOP to debate gun reform

House Democrats want to debate an assault weapons ban and universal background checks.
Published: Jun. 13, 2023 at 7:28 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - House Democrats have launched a rare strategy to try to force House Republicans to debate gun reform. They have decided to use discharge petitions to try to force debate on two bills that would reform background checks and one bill that would ban assault weapons.

Discharge petitions require 218 signatures to move a stalled bill out of committee and onto the full House floor. With only 212 Democrats in the House, Democrats will need Republican support.

Read the discharge petitions here

Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) has rallied several of her colleagues, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, to support the petitions. McBath has been a gun reform advocate since her 17 year old son, Jordan, became a victim of gun violence in 2012.

“These are pieces of legislation that have already passed the House with bipartisan support to pass them. These are pieces of legislation that we know through all of the surveys that have been done, a lot of the research that is done, that will save the most number of lives. These are the most comprehensive pieces of legislation. So, that is the reason why we’re starting with these three, because we need to be able to pass legislation that saves the most number of lives. There’s not any one piece of legislation that does it,” said McBath.

Signatures on discharge petitions are not anonymous. So, McBath knows she may face Republican resistance to support the process.

Meanwhile Republicans like Florida Senator Rick Scott believes Democrats are focused on the wrong solutions. Just this Monday, he marked the 7 anniversary of the deadly Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

“I believe in the 2nd Amendment and I will never support taking away guns away from law abiding Americans. But let’s think about it. If they (Democrats) were worried about violence, why don’t the Democrats secure the border? I mean it’s one of the biggest issues we have right now. Why do they support defunding the police? You know if you look at the things that would reduce crime, alright, the Democrats don’t support that. Making sure that we get people back to work helps reduce crime. They don’t support that. So what they want to do, is they don’t support anything that would reduce crime but all they focus on, the democrats focus on is taking away your guns,” said Scott.

This Friday, the President plans to spotlight the issue of gun reform as he attends the National Safer Communities Summit in Connecticut.

Rep. McBath plans to attend that event.

“Well, most assuredly I want to continue to hear from him all the support that he’s already given members of Congress and the charge that he’s already given us to one, ban assault weapons, but two, to save lives. He knows that there’s only so much power that he has through an EO (executive order) or things of that nature. But Congress has the power to pass the policies that save our communities,” said McBath.