Pro-Gun Group Slams 'Traitor' Republicans Who Voted for Assault Weapons Ban

Assault Weapons Ban Republican Traitors Gun Control
An assault weapons ban was passed in the House on Friday with the support of two Republicans and all but five Democrats. Supporters of the ban are pictured during a demonstration outside the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on July 13, 2022. Kevin Dietsch/Getty

The leader of a hardline gun rights group has slammed two Republican House members as "traitors" for backing an assault weapons ban.

The House passed the ban by a narrow 217-213 margin on Friday, with the support of Republican congressmen Chris Jacobs of New York and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania. Five House Democrats voted against the bill. Soon after the legislation was passed, American Firearms Association President Christopher Dorr sent supporters an email denouncing Jacobs and Fitzpatrick for putting "a knife into the backs of the people who voted them into office."

"Moments ago, Nancy Pelosi rammed her so-called 'Assault Weapons Ban' through the House, aided by TWO TRAITOR Republicans, Brian Fitzpatrick (PA) and Chris Jacobs (NY)," Dorr wrote in the email obtained by Newsweek. "Had the two TRAITOR Republicans above voted against Pelosi, the bill would have failed. They drove a knife into the backs of the people who voted them into office."

Dorr went on to say that the "gun rights community" should be concerned because the bill would next be "placed firmly into the hands of radical anti-gunner Chuck Schumer," the Democratic Senate majority leader from New York.

The bill is not expected to pass in the Senate due to the high hurdle of requiring 10 Republican votes to avoid a filibuster, while the chamber is evenly split 50-50 between Republican and Democrats.

"You may remember just last month over a dozen Senate Republicans voted for gun control," Dorr wrote in his email, which included a link to join the gun group and contribute donations. "With the Democrats and Joe Biden on the ropes in November, we can take nothing for granted."

"The Fake News Media and the Democrats are waiting for the next high profile shooting to guilt as many Republicans as possible into supporting their most aggressive assault on our Second Amendment rights in decades," he added.

Jacobs, who represents a district that includes Buffalo, New York—where 10 Black people were fatally shot by a white gunman at a supermarket in May—explained his vote in a statement obtained by Newsweek on Friday, while pointing out that he announced his support for the ban following the mass shooting.

"I strongly support the Second Amendment and the right to self-defense and have a record of doing so," Jacobs said. "What I do not support is easy access to high-powered semiautomatic weapons and large capacity magazines that have time and time again resulted in mass casualty shootings."

"These weapons have been proven to cause an immense amount of damage quickly—in Buffalo, 13 people were shot—10 fatally—in less than 3 minutes," he added. "We have a duty to provide for the safety of all Americans. These weapons do not belong in our communities."

Newsweek has reached out to Fitzpatrick's office for comment.

The Democratic House members who voted against the bill included Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Kurt Schrader of Oregon. They also faced some criticism for not supporting the ban.

"Henry Cuellar was one of 5 Democrats in the House who voted against the assault weapons ban," writer and progressive activist Adam Best tweeted. "He continues to vote like a Republican. Remind me again why Dem leadership went to bat for him instead of getting behind an actual progressive?"

"The other 4 were Jared Golden, Vicente Gonzalez, Ron Kind and Kurt Schrader," Best continued. "Fortunately, progressive Jamie McLeod-Skinner recently primaried Schrader. Good riddance to one of the worst Dems in the country."

The bill was the first assault weapons ban to pass in the House in 28 years. A federal assault weapons ban previously became law in 1994 before expiring in 2004 during the administration of former President George W. Bush.

Although the Senate's partisan split means that the chances of the new bill becoming law are slim, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tweeted that Democrats were successful in "overcoming years of gun lobby obstruction" by passing the bill in the House on Friday.

"I'm excited today, because for a long time now, I've wanted to reinstate the assault weapons ban," Pelosi told reporters before the vote. "When we did this in the '90s, it was hard, but it happened and it saved lives."

During debate on the bill, Pelosi focused on a small assault rifle called the JR-15, which is modeled after the larger AR-15 assault rifle, but designed for children and marketed to them with cartoon skull characters. The speaker called the weapon and the marketing campaign "disgusting."

Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia responded to Pelosi's remarks on Twitter, where she suggested that the elementary school children killed during the May mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, all "needed" the assault rifles.