WASHINGTON – The House on Friday passed a bill that would ban assault weapons following a summer of deadly mass shootings that reigned calls for increased gun control. Though the measure passed mostly along party lines, two Republicans and five Democrats broke with their parties on the vote, according to the official tally.
Republican Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Chris Jacobs of New York cast votes in favor of the ban alongside 215 of their Democratic colleagues.
The five Democrats to vote “no” on the bill alongside 208 Republicans were Reps. Henry Cuellar of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Kurt Schrader of Oregon.
James Rivera, a spokesperson for Gonzalez, told USA TODAY that while Gonzalez supports other gun control measures, a ban on assault rifles doesn’t solve the problem.
“There are tens of millions of assault rifles already in circulation across America, responsible for many of them are used by gun owners for hunting in South Texas,” Rivera said. “And a ban on some of those models will do nothing to reduce overall risks. Our focus should be on keeping guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves or others.”
USA TODAY requested comment from the other six Congress members’ offices.
Assault weapons ban:‘Americans deserve to be safe’: House passes assault weapons ban that has little chance in Senate
There is no vote yet scheduled in the Senate on the assault weapons ban, though the measure is not expected to pass the chamber. At least 10 Republican Senators would have to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster.
Assault weapons have been used in numerous mass shootings, including killings this year in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo ; Parkland, Florida in 2018; Las Vegas in 2017; and Newtown, Conn. in 2012.
Contributing: Katherine Swartz