When the House Oversight Committee met Wednesday to hear from people who lost loved ones in two mass shootings last month—in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, Texas—there were also messages from pro-Second Amendment women lawmakers may not have wanted, but now they’re part of the record.
Among those offering testimony was Amy Swearer with the Heritage Foundation. She has frequently written about gun-related politics and she brought the same matter-of-fact approach to the committee meeting.
According to CNBC, Swearer told the committee, “Semi-automatic rifles are the type of firearm least often used to commit acts of gun violence. The context in which mass shootings occur renders magazine limits effectively useless at saving lives. Eighteen-to-20 year olds are legal adults otherwise endowed with all of the rights and duties of citizenship including the right to keep and bear arms.”
CNBC said Swearer “represented views supported by many Republicans, who in general oppose new laws that would make it far more difficult to own assault rifles or high-capacity magazines.” According to the news network, Swearer explained to the committee that “the vast majority of mass shooters are 21 or older.” She criticized what was described as a “knee-jerk reaction among Democrats” to quickly push for more gun control in the aftermath of a mass shooting incident.
Swearer was not alone defending gun rights and offering a different perspective. NPR is reporting that Lucretia Hughes with the DC Project—an organization that brings women from across the country to the nation’s capital each year to meet with lawmakers—and Women for Gun Rights cautioned lawmakers against putting too much faith into legislation because criminals don’t obey laws, and they won’t adhere to any new ones.
NPR said Hughes lost a son in a firearm-related incident. She told the committee, “Y’all are delusional if you think it’s going to keep us safe. At Women for Gun Rights, we believe that education is the key to safety, not ineffective legislation.”
There is no small irony in the fact that Hughes and Swearer testified before Congress while hundreds of miles north, in Albany, NY, Gov. Kathy Hochul had signed legislation earlier in the week in response to the Buffalo mass shooting that raises the minimum age for buying a semi-auto rifle to 21 years. There is also a licensing requirement for all semi-auto rifle purchases, according to The Cut, a Vox feature.
Other legislation signed by Hochul will limit the sale of body armor “to certain professions” and expand the so-called “red flag law” in New York. Another measure mandates micro-stamping, a technology not yet proven to help solve crimes.