Jacobs joins Democrats in House vote to strengthen gun laws

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 June 2022 at 10:31 pm

‘Protecting Our Kids Act’ raises age to buy an AR-15 from 18 to 21

Congressman Chris Jacobs was one of five Republicans to break party ranks today and vote with Democrats in approving the “Protecting Our Kids Act,” which strengthens gun laws, including raising the age to legally buy an AR-15 from 18 to 21.

Chris Jacobs

The legislation is expected to face a tougher road in the Senate.

The House voted 223-204 to pass the package of gun control legislation. Other measures include establishing new federal offenses for gun trafficking and for selling large-capacity magazines, and allow local governments to compensate individuals who surrender such magazines through a buyback program.

There would be a new tax incentive for retail sales of safe storage devices and criminal penalties for breaking new requirements regulating firearm storage on residential premises.

The “Protecting Our Kids Act” also strengthens existing federal regulations on bump stocks and ghost guns.

“It’s sickening that our children are forced to live in this constant fear,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the Floor of the House of Representatives. “And make no mistake, these gunmen who choose to shoot innocent children are desecrating, again, our culture, a culture where all of us, all of our kids must and should feel safe — whether at school, church, the movies or any other place.  Protecting our children can and must be a unifying mission for our nation, because they are, as I said, our national treasure.”

Jacobs has faced strong opposition since stating his support for the gun control measures after 10 people were gunned down at a Tops store in Buffalo and 19 children and two teachers were shot to death at a Texas elementary school.

Jacobs, facing Republican pushback for his stance, decided against running for election to a newly drawn 23rd Congressional District after many party leaders withdrew their endorsements.

Orleans County would be split up in redistricting. Rep. Joe Morelle, a Democrat from Rochester, voted for the gun control legislation today.

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, a Republican from near Utica, is seeking to represent the 24th Congressional District that would include part of Orleans County. She voted against the gun control package.

She issued this statement:

“The recent shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, and Tulsa are senseless acts of pure evil. Our nation grieves for those lives lost. As a mother, I can only imagine the pain and frustration families are experiencing as they cope with the loss of a son, daughter, mother, father, brother, or sister.

“In the face of these tragedies, the question is not whether we should respond, but rather how we can respond effectively and responsibly to address rising crime in our communities. Unfortunately, House Democrats once again missed the mark. They failed to acknowledge the root causes of these tragedies. From the breakdown in our society and the fraying of the very social networks that once bound us together to criminal justice reforms that have demonized police while celebrating criminals, our country needs a serious course correction.

“Instead of knee-jerk reactions that undermine due process and infringe on our Second Amendment, there are commonsense steps Congress can take now to address the problem. First, we should improve the existing background check system to make sure it works as intended. In Congress, I support legislation such as the 21st Century NICS Act, which would close the so-called, ‘Charleston Loophole.’ This measure could have prevented the tragic 2015 shooting in Charleston. Second, we need to invest in mental health care and services. I am honored to have recently joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce the REACHING Improved Mental Health Outcomes for Patients Act. This bill would go a long way in improving mental health resources for Americans and law enforcement. Third, we must harden our schools by taking steps to increase teacher training and enhance facility security.

“These shootings are a tragic symptom of a far more systemic deterioration of our society and institutions. Infringing further on the Constitutional rights and due process of law-abiding Americans is not the answer, and it will not solve the problem.”