The United States House Judiciary Committee said on Friday that it would consider proposed legislation to prohibit some assault weapons next week, citing a spate of recent mass shootings around the country.
The committee will meet on Wednesday to discuss the measure, which “would ban the sale, import, manufacture or transfer of certain semi-automatic weapons,” according to a statement from the committee.
Since May, a string of gun atrocities at a New York grocery store, a Texas elementary school, and an Illinois Independence Day celebration have reignited a heated debate in the United States over gun control.
“Our country has witnessed senseless killing after senseless killing, and one fact has remained remarkably consistent — the weapon of choice for mass slaughter is a high-powered assault weapon,” said Committee Chairman U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, in a statement citing AR-15 style firearms.
Representatives for gun manufacturers could not be contacted for comment immediately.
If passed, the measure would legalize the sale of such weapons that are currently legitimately owned, but would not apply to antique, manually-operated, or some hunting and sports rifles, according to the panel.
If the bill passes the committee, House Democratic leaders, who control the chamber, might bring it to the floor for a full vote before sending it to the Senate, which is evenly split 50-50.
“There is great support in our caucus for an assault weapon ban,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday. US Vice President Joe Biden has also stated his support for it.
A federal assault weapons prohibition was implemented in 1994, but it lapsed in 2004.
The House Oversight Committee has separately requested testimony from Smith & Wesson Brands (SWBI.O), Sturm, Ruger & Co (RGR.N), and Daniel Defense on Wednesday.
Last month, Biden signed into law a bipartisan gun safety bill that contained measures aimed at assisting states in keeping weapons out of the hands of persons judged dangerous, marking the first substantial U.S. gun legislation in three decades.