A proposed ban on “assault weapons” has gained its first Republican co-sponsor.
Rep. Peter King, New York Republican, officially signed onto a bill being pushed by Rep. David Cicilline, Rhode Island Democrat, the New York Daily News reported Monday.
“They are weapons of mass slaughter,” he told the Daily News. “I don’t see any need for them in everyday society.”
Mr. Cicilline’s bill, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019, was introduced six months ago and had garnered more than 200 sponsors, all of them until now Democrats.
Mr. King has already signed onto a bill expanding background-check rules and said he was persuaded to add his name to the “assault-weapons” ban by this month’s mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, which left more than 30 people dead and dozens more injured.
“I think the assault weapons ban is timely now, especially in view of the shooting in El Paso and Dayton,” Mr. King said, according to the Daily News.
The politics of the issue are dicey, as some Democrats in purple or reddish districts don’t want to be seen as opposing Second Amendment rights, while Republicans in purple of bluish districts face a similar dynamic.
Mr. Cicilline, a vice chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Mr. King’s signing on could persuade other reluctant Republicans.
“I’m pleased that Congressman King has joined this effort. I sincerely hope that more of my Republicans colleagues will put their service to our country and the safety of their constituents ahead of their need to raise campaign money from the gun lobby,” he said, the Daily News reported.
However, even should an “assault-weapons” ban pass the House, both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump have stated opposition to such a bill, making its chances of becoming law minimal.