Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., said Monday he is backing a bill in the House to ban assault weapons because he does not "see any need for them in everyday society."
"They are weapons of mass slaughter," King told the New York Daily News after he became the first GOP representative to back the measure first rolled out in February by Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.
The bill has 200 Democratic co-sponsors and seeks to ban semi-automatic firearms and large-capacity magazines. The measure has drawn renewed attention after the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio earlier this month.
King had been in favor of background checks for gun purchases, but the back-to-back shootings, which left 32 dead and dozens injured, pushed him to back the assault weapon bill.
"I think the assault weapons ban is timely now, especially in view of the shooting in El Paso and Dayton," he told the Daily News.
Cicilline said he is pleased King has joined on as a co-sponsor of the bill and added he hopes more Republicans will "put their service to our country and the safety of their constituents ahead of their need to raise campaign money from the gun lobby.”
But even if the bill passes the House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he will not bring the legislation to the Senate, and President Donald Trump says he opposes the bill.
Further, Democratic leaders are focusing on background legislation that House members have already passed, as they believe they can push McConnell on them because the public supports further background checks for gun owners.
They also are concerned moderate Democrats seeking re-election in swing states could face issues if they back an assault weapons bill.
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