US House passes gun package unlikely approved by Senate

Members of the US Marshals fugitive task force walk down a street near Columbiana Centre mall in Columbia, SC, following a shooting, April 16, 2022. (SEAN RAYFORD / AP)

WASHINGTON – The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a gun package that is unlikely to be approved by the evenly-divided Senate.

The package — dubbed the Protecting Our Kids Act — was passed in a 223-204 vote, largely along party lines.

The legislation would, among other things, raise the minimum age for buying a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21 years old and ban bump stocks for civilians

The legislation would, among other things, raise the minimum age for buying a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21 years old and ban bump stocks for civilians.

Senators from both sides of the aisle have engaged in gun legislation talks for a consensus on narrower gun legislation.

The move on Capitol Hill came as the United States is reeling from a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 children and two teachers dead last month.

Miah Cerrillo, a fourth-grade student at Robb Elementary School who survived the shooting, told US lawmakers on Wednesday that she smeared herself in her friend's blood and played dead.

"He shot my friend that was next to me, and I thought he was going to come back to the room," Cerrillo, 11, said of the shooter in a recorded video to a House panel. "So I grabbed the blood, and I put it all over me."

She also said she wanted "to have security" when going to school, where she no longer feels safe.

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A rash of mass shootings across the United States over the past few weeks has renewed national attention to gun violence.

The United States has suffered 251 mass shootings over the past five months or so, with more than 18,900 lives lost to gun violence, according to the latest data from Gun Violence Archive.