(WJHL) — Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) responded to the U.S. House passing legislation on Wednesday that aims to combat the country’s gun violence epidemic in the wake of shootings that recently claimed the lives of 10 Black people in Buffalo and 19 elementary students and two teachers in Uvalde.
In a video, Harshbarger described the gun reform as “the Democrats’ gun-grabbing legislation” and claimed the measures would lead to “wide-spread confiscation.”
The House-passed legislation, dubbed “Protecting Our Kids Act,” consists of multiple bills that aim to pull the reins on what some consider to be laissez-faire gun laws. Proposals include increasing the legal age from 18 to 21 to purchase a semi-automatic firearm and prohibiting the sale of magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.
The 223-204 vote followed days of testimony from the families of mass shooting victims — including the racially motivated shooting in a Tops store in Buffalo, New York that killed 10 people and the third-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history two weeks ago in Uvalde, Texas.
“We all want to address the violence plaguing our nation, but I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again,” Harshbarger said. “Threatening American liberties is never the answer. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people, and until we address the root cause of why people kill these people, the problem will continue.”
While Harshbarger was one of the many Republicans who did vote against the bill, the Associated Press reported that five Republicans strayed from their party by helping it move forward. The AP also reported that two Democrats voted against it.
The legislation is not expected to pass in the Senate, with many Republicans instead rallying for improvements in mental health programs. Harshbarger’s full statement is available at the top of this story.