Republican brandishes private arsenal in House hearing on gun reform

Greg Steube displays succession of firearms he says would be banned under bill being debated in response to mass shootings

A Republican congressman used a House hearing on gun control in the aftermath of multiple mass shootings to show off his own collection of guns, brandishing them via remote video link.

A Democrat, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, interjected and said: “I hope the gun is not loaded.”

But Greg Steube replied: “I’m in my house, I can do whatever I want with my guns.”

The hearing on the Protecting Our Kids Act, an omnibus bill backed by House Democrats, was held amid calls for meaningful reform after mass shootings in Buffalo, New York (10 dead); Uvalde, Texas (21 dead, including 19 children); and Tulsa, Oklahoma (four dead).

Joining the hearing from his Florida home, Steube complained about proposals to ban high-capacity magazines.

“The Glock 19 was the highest-sold handgun in the United States,” he said. “It comes with a 15-round magazine. That gun would be banned.”

Then he held up a weapon.

“Right in front of you I have a Sig Sauer P226. Comes with a 21-round magazine. This gun would be banned. Here’s a 12-round magazine. This magazine would be banned under this current bill, it doesn’t fit as this gun was made for [a] 21-round magazine. This gun would be banned under this bill.”

He showed another gun.

“Here’s a Sig Sauer P320. It takes a 20-round magazine. Here’s a 12-round magazine that would be banned. It doesn’t fit. Because it would be banned. This gun would be banned under this bill.”

And another.

“Here’s a gun I carry every single day to protect myself, my family, my wife, my home. This is an XL Sig Sauer P365, comes with a 15-round magazine. Here’s a seven-round magazine which would be less than what would be lawful under this bill … it doesn’t fit. So this gun would be banned.”

Steube is a former US army lawyer who supported Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election. He voted against awarding the congressional gold medal to police officers who defended the Capitol from rioters on 6 January 2021.

On Thursday, he refused requests to yield from the Democratic committee chair, Jerry Nadler of New York.

The shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde and Tulsa happened within two weeks. More mass shootings, widely defined as events in which four or more people not including the shooter are injured or killed, occurred around the US during the Memorial Day weekend.

The Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit, says there have been 232 mass shootings in the US this year – substantially more than one a day.

Republicans remain opposed to gun reform, although senators from both parties have said talks initiated after the Uvalde shooting have shown promise.

On Thursday, two Democrats on the House judiciary committee, Sylvia Garcia of Texas and Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, read the names of the 19 children killed in Uvalde.

Garcia argued Republicans were “complicit” in such mass shootings because they have refused to countenance gun reform.

Her voice shaking, Dean asked: “Where is their outrage over the slaughter of 19 fourth-graders and their two teachers? Why don’t they feel an urgency to do something?

“This is on our watch.”

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