The House Judiciary Committee has delayed a meeting to discuss gun control legislation amid preparations for Hurricane Dorian, the panel announced Friday.
The committee had planned to meet Sept. 4 to discuss three proposed laws following mass shootings this summer in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. The meeting would have been shortly before the House’s Sept. 9 return from the August recess. The committee planned to look at measures to ban high-capacity magazines, urge states to create processes to stop high-risk individuals from buying guns and stop those convicted of hate crimes from owning firearms.
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The meeting was postponed to the week of Sept. 9 — when the House is back in session — due to the storm, which is poised to hit Florida next week. Several members of the committee are from Florida, and the delay also considered potential disruptions to travel back to Washington. The Florida members include Democratic Reps. Theodore Deutch, Val Butler Demings and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz and Gregory Steube.
Democrats had been divided on whether to return early from recess to address gun violence, with some urging for an immediate return after the Dayton and El Paso shootings to pass an assault rifle ban. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the time urged her caucus instead to focus on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to stall two gun control bills that the House had passed earlier this year.
But Pelosi also expressed an openness to the Judiciary committee returning early to pass “other gun violence prevention legislation, including a red flag bill.”
The shootings in El Paso and Dayton, which occurred within hours of each other, resulted in at least 31 deaths and several more injuries. The shooter in El Paso espoused a white-supremacist message and targeted the city’s Latino community using an assault weapon acquired abroad, The Texas Tribune reported.