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Reps. LaHood and Davis vote against wide-ranging gun control bill that passes US House

Davis and LaHood
U.S. Reps. Darin LaHood, right, and Rodney Davis, whose districts include Bloomington-Normal.

The two Republicans who represent Bloomington-Normal in the U.S. House voted Wednesday against a wide-ranging gun control bill that would raise the age limit for purchasing a semi-automatic rifle and prohibit the sale of ammunition magazines with a capacity of more than 15 rounds.

The legislation passed by a mostly party-line vote of 223-204. U.S. Reps. Darin LaHood and Rodney Davis, whose districts include Bloomington-Normal, voted “no.” U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, a Democrat whose district includes parts of Greater Peoria, voted for the legislation.

It has almost no chance of becoming law as the Senate pursues negotiations focused on improving mental health programs, bolstering school security and enhancing background checks. But the House bill does allow Democratic lawmakers a chance to frame for voters in November where they stand on policies that polls show are widely supported.

Bustos, who is not running for re-election in November, issued a statement after the vote.

“From Uvalde to Buffalo, Sandy Hook to Columbine, the precious lives of our children continue to be robbed by an epidemic of gun violence. After each one of these tragic events, too many of our leaders refuse to take action to save lives,” said Bustos. “Today, I joined my colleagues in the House to pass a package of commonsense bills to fight back against the horrors of rampant gun violence. Our children should feel safe when they go to school, the movie theater, a grocery store or their place of worship. We cannot continue to accept this as the norm in this nation.”

Davis, who will not represent Bloomington-Normal after the 2022 election due to redistricting, also issued a statement. He's facing a GOP primary later this month.

"As a victim of gun violence, I know how important firearm ownership and the Second Amendment are for self-defense. More gun control does not equal less gun violence. Taking guns away from law-abiding citizens will not stop gun violence from happening. It only hinders those citizens’ ability to protect themselves. That’s why I voted No on the Democrats’ unconstitutional gun control legislation," Davis said. "We don’t need any more laws or restrictions that make it more difficult for law-abiding, gun-owning citizens to exercise their Constitutional rights. We need to support law enforcement, enforce our laws on the books, get tough on criminals who commit violent crimes, give our schools the resources they need to harden and protect their facilities, and rethink how the federal government administers mental health programs. That’s how we can address gun violence and crime, saving lives in the process.”

The House bill stitches together a variety of proposal Democrats had introduced before the recent shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. The suspects in the shootings at the Uvalde, elementary school and Buffalo supermarket were both just 18, authorities say, when they bought the semi-automatic weapons used in the attacks. The bill would increase the minimum age to buy such weapons to 21.

Republicans have noted that a U.S. appeals court ruling last month found California's ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons to adults under 21 was unconstitutional.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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