Voting 228 for and 206 against, the House on June 26, 2023, adopted an amendment to HR 4366 affirming the gun rights of individuals adjudicated to be so mentally impaired that they cannot manage their own veterans’ benefits. By law, the Department of Veterans Affairs must appoint a fiduciary to manage their benefits and report the individual’s name to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) system, which would prohibit the individual from purchasing a firearm because of his or her mental condition. This amendment sought to ban funding to carry out the NICS reporting requirement.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Mike Bost, R-Ill., said: “The mission of the VA is to care for those who have served. To me, it seems this practice is the opposite of caring for our veterans.”

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said: “The program has a full due process system, and veterans can file an appeal. This is an example of generating a controversy where there is none.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.


The House on June 13, 2023, voted, 219 for and 210 against, to nullify a new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms rule that pistols equipped with stabilizing braces must be registered as short-barreled rifles because the braces enable firing from the shoulder. Owners who fail to register these accessorized AR-style pistols with the ATF would face stiff fines and potential prison terms under the National Firearms Act of 1934, which requires registration of machine guns and sawed-off rifles and shotguns, and the Gun Control Act of 1968, which governs interstate commerce in firearms. On this vote, the House adopted a resolution (HJ Res 44) to repeal the rule, which was partially blocked by a federal appeals court after taking effect May 31.

Pistols equipped with braces were used in mass shootings at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., in March 2023; the Club Q in Colorado Springs. Colo., in November 2022; the King Soupers market in Boulder, Colo., in March 2021 and outside a bar in Dayton, O., in August 2019.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Supporter Thomas Massie, R-Ky., said: “As a father and a grandfather, my heart breaks when I see the victims of these deranged killers at schools and elsewhere. We need serious solutions. I think it is an insult to the victims and families that banning a piece of plastic is going to save a life — it won’t — or telling them that putting up a sign that says `gun-free zone’ will save a life. It won’t. It will cost lives.”

Opponent Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, said: “Guns are already the number one killer of children in our country. This year, there have been 291 mass shootings. We can count the numbers, but we can’t count the pain of an empty chair where there was once a vibrant parent or a wonderful little child who was murdered in a mass shooting. This Congress could do something about it if we could end the obstruction. We need to move toward reducing gun violence, not enabling it.”

A yes vote was to send the nullification measure to the Senate, where its prospects were uncertain.


Voting 232 for and 198 against, the House on May 17 passed a bill (HR 3091) that would allow federal law enforcement officers to purchase firearms including handguns and AR 15-style assault rifles that federal agencies have retired from their arsenals. Officers could purchase retired firearms at fair market value for lawful civilian purposes. Current law requires agencies including the Secret Service and Customs and Border Protection to destroy or transfer to another agency weapons they retire from use.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Supporter Michelle Fischbach, R-Minn., said “federal law enforcement agencies are required to destroy retired and unneeded firearms. The Fraternal Order of Police estimates that this wastes up to $8 million a year. This bill is a commonsense solution to save taxpayer dollars and support law enforcement officers.”

Opponent Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., faulted the bill for not requiring purchasers to undergo tests of good standing or background checks. “I do not think 30 seconds is too long to wait to ensure that a gun does not fall into the wrong hands,” he said.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where its prospects were uncertain.


Voting 218 for and 217 against, the House on May 17 amended HR 3091 (above) to expand the types of retired firearms federal law enforcement officers could buy. The bill originally limited purchases to handguns. This amendment expanded the measure to weapons including shotguns and AR 15-style assault rifles, but it prohibited the purchase of machine guns.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Sponsor Matthew Rosendale, R-Mont., said federal law officers “are highly trained. Whether they are using an AR-15 or…a similar high-powered rifle with a high-intensity scope, they are trained to do such.” If they are “retiring from that duty of protecting the civilians…[and] want to purchase a weapon that they have been utilizing for who knows how much time, they should be able to do so.”

Opponent Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said: “Though the amendment excludes machine guns, it does not exclude other firearms subject to heightened regulation under the National Firearms Act, such as short-barreled rifles and even grenade launchers. The federal government should not be selling these dangerous weapons to people operating in their civilian capacity.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.


Voting 216 for and 219 against, the House on May 17 defeated an amendment to HR 3091 (above) that sought to require agencies to certify that law enforcement officers are in good standing before selling them a retired federal firearm. Such a determination would reveal, for example, whether the officer is under a domestic violence restraining order that would prohibit gun purchases.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Sponsor Sara Jacobs, D-Calif., said: “Police officers are human. They aren’t immune from mental illness, domestic and family conflict and other stressors that can lead to tragedies. We can and should have guardrails to prevent those tragedies….Existing federal law already carves out special treatment for law enforcement officers by allowing them to have a gun even if they have a domestic-violence restraining order. That is dangerous.”

Russell Fry, R-S.C., said: “Good standing is already universally understood by all federal agencies. If an officer has been suspended, they surrender their badge and gun and do not have law enforcement authorities. This is not a new concept. In fact, the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act signed into law 19 years ago requires a finding of good standing…for retired officers to be eligible to carry a concealed weapon.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.


Voting 217 for and 213 against, the House on July 29, 2022, passed a bill (HR 1808) that would prohibit the importation, manufacture and sale of most types of semi-automatic assault weapons, including the AR-15 guns frequently used to carry out mass shootings in the United States. The bill would restore a federal ban on such weapons that was enacted 1994 and was allowed to expire 10 years later in the face of National Rifle Association opposition. Only affecting future inventory, the bill would exempt semi-automatic weapons already in place when the ban takes effect. But the 24 million AR-style guns privately owned in America could not be sold of transferred under the legislation.

The bill would cover several types of semi-automatic assault weapons, listing each one by brand and model.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Supporter Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said: “As we have learned all too well in recent years, assault weapons, especially when combined with high-capacity magazines, are the weapon of choice for mass shootings. These military-style weapons are designed to kill the most people in the shortest amount of time. Quite simply, there is no place for them in our streets.”

Opponent Ben Cline, R-Va., said: “This bill would not reduce violent crime, as Democrats claim. Studies have shown that the effect of the last assault weapons ban, in 1994, on violent crime was perhaps too small for a reliable measurement. Instead, what this bill and all other legislation from Democrats aimed at gun control would do is directly infringe on the rights of law-abiding Americans.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where no vote has occurred.


Voting 260 for and 169 against, the House on July 13, 2022, passed a bill (HR 6538) that would expedite police alerts to the public in real time when an active shooter is at large in the community. Under the bill, law enforcement could issue the alerts by tapping into existing weather and AMBER Alert emergency networks, such as those operated by wireless providers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Nationwide, there were about 60 active-shooter events in 2021 and 40 in 2020. The attorney general would appoint a coordinator to work with all levels of law enforcement to put the system into operation.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Supporter David Cicilline, D-R.I., said police now use “platforms like Twitter and Facebook to let the public know there is a shooter out there. That is why law enforcement organizations from all across the country are asking for this bill….We want to talk about supporting law enforcement? Give them what they ask for. Stop acting like you are experts about responding to active shooting.”

Opponent Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said: “Frankly, this bill is unnecessary. Nothing prevents the states today from creating an alert system for active-shooter incidents. Every state has the capacity to implement a warning system if they choose to….Contrary to the belief of many members of this body, the solution to every issue is not a federal program.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where no vote has occurred.


Voting 234 for and 193 against, the House on June 24, 2022, passed a bill (S 2938) to extend from three days to 10 the allotted time for federal authorities to conduct criminal and mental health background checks on persons under 21 attempting to buy a gun. The bill was also passed by the Senate and was signed into law by President Biden on June 25 on the heels of mass shootings at Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y., and other locations. The bill also would:

  • Close the “boyfriend loophole” by requiring the federal background-check database to include all individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders or convicted of at least misdemeanor domestic violence offenses. At present, only spouses under such orders are included in the database;
  • Make “straw purchases” of firearms for others a serious crime if the buyer knows the recipient of the gun is ineligible to buy the gun on their own and/or likely to use the weapon to commit a felony. The provision would apply to all gun purchases, not just those from a federally licensed dealer;
  • Expand criminal penalties to cover all participants in gun trafficking chains regardless of whether the firearms end up being used in the United States or in countries such as Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras or Guatemala;
  • Authorize $750 million to encourage states to enact “red-flag” laws permitting temporary confiscation of firearms from individuals found by a judge to be dangerous, $300 million over five years for school-safety programs, and billions to help states and localities expand mental health and crisis intervention programs. The bill’s overall cost was $13.2 billion over five years.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Supporter Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said: “This bill saves lives by targeting convicted domestic abusers and felons coercing someone to illegally purchase a gun for them….by strengthening school safety and mental health resources….The millions of gun violence victims and gun violence survivors deserve a `yes’ vote today.”

Opponent Tom Tiffany, R-Wis., said: “Law-abiding Americans do not want more laws chipping away at the Second Amendment. They do not want to see their right to bear arms eliminated on the installment plan. They want prosecutors to prosecute. They want the police to police. They want dangerous criminals off the streets and behind bars.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it was passed and sent to President Biden, who signed it into law (PL 117-159) on May 21, 2022Senate vote here.


Voting 223 for and 204 against, the House on June 8, 2022, passed a bill (HR 7910) that would, among other provisions, raise from 18 to 21 years the lawful age for purchasing semiautomatic assault rifles; prohibit the sale, manufacture and possession of magazines holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition; expand regulations against the manufacture, sale or possession of bump stocks for civilian use; and add untraceable “ghost guns” to the list of weapons subject to federal firearms laws and regulations.

The bill died in the Senate as a result of Republican opposition. But the House and Senate then agreed on a softer, bipartisan gun-safety measure (S 2938) that President Biden signed into law on June 25.

This vote occurred 14 days after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two adults, and came 24 days after one at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket that killed 10 shoppers and employees. Acting alone, the gunmen in both massacres were 18 years old and used the type of semi-automatic weapons this bill sought to keep from young people. The Uvalde shooter used an AR-15-style rifle and the Buffalo gunman a modified Bushmaster AK-15 rifle.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Supporter Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said: “A person shot with an AR–15 looks like a grenade exploded in their body….In Uvalde, Texas, little kids were decapitated and had their faces blown off. A person under 21 cannot buy a Budweiser. We should not let a person under 21 buy an AR–15 weapon of war.”

Opponent Ben Cline, R-Va., said: “Overall, this bill is an attempt to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens while ignoring the broader problems of why these tragedies are happening. Let’s talk about school resource officers in our schools. Let’s talk about fortifying school buildings. Let’s talk about ending the dangerous mirage of gun-free zones.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where no vote has occurred.


Voting 219 for and 210 against, the House on March 11, 2021, passed a bill (HR 1446) that would allow more time for the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System to complete reviews of impending gun sales. Under rules then in effect, sales would automatically go through if the check was not finished within three days. The bill would extend the window from to as many as 20 business days.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Supporter Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said the bill would “close a dangerous loophole that puts weapons in the hands of individuals who should not legally be permitted to purchase them merely because the FBI is not able to complete the background check in time.”

Opponent Kat Cammack, R-Fla., said the bill “puts the onus on individuals to contact the government if their background check hasn’t been completed in 10 days. You know who cannot afford to wait? The single mom looking to protect herself and her children from a violent ex who has just been released from jail.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where no vote has occurred.


The House on March 11, 2021, voted, 227 for and 203 against, to expand federal gun background checks to cover sales conducted at gun shows, over the Internet or through classified ads, with an exception for sales between family members. The bill (HR 8) would plug loopholes that allowed millions of U.S. firearms sales to skirt the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is structured to deny guns to the mentally ill, individuals with criminal records and domestic abusers.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Supporter Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said: “Every day 30 people are killed by someone using a gun. That number jumps to 100 if you factor in accidents and suicides involving guns. The steady stream of gun violence devastates families, communities, and schools….This status quo is not okay.

Opponent Greg Murphy, R-N.C., said the bill would “absurdly hamper people’s ability to exercise their constitutional right to defend themselves. This sort of broad government overreach does not save lives but treats everyday law-abiding citizens like criminals.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where no vote has occurred.