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Democrats facing tough elections sound off ahead of House hearing on gun control measures

The House Judiciary Committee is slated to hold an emergency meeting Thursday to pen an extensive gun control package as several House Democrats hope to retain their congressional seats this fall or defeat Republicans in other races.

Known collectively as the “Protecting Our Kids Act,” a package of eight bills being pushed by Democrats aims to suppress gun ownership and implement new firearm laws for Americans. The bills contain proposals to raise the minimum age for purchasing a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21, ban “high capacity magazines,” establish a registry for bump stocks and more.

While millions of Americans support the efforts from House Democrats, there are also millions of voters, particularly those who are strong supporters of the Second Amendment, who have repeatedly expressed opposition to calls for contentious gun control measures. For several moderate Democrats facing re-election, as well as those seeking other positions in Congress, support for the package could come at a cost as it relates to voting this fall and in primary elections.

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“I have always been a supporter of bipartisan, common sense reforms to protect Americans, and I will continue to support solutions that keep our children, churches, and communities safe from gun violence and mass shootings,” Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., said in a statement to Fox News Digital regarding the hearing and the package’s advancement.

While it has yet to be determined who will challenge her in the general election for Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District this November, Luria, a Navy veteran who has represented the district in Congress since 2019, faces strong opposition from a crowded field of Republican candidates. One of those candidates is Tommy Altman, a vocal supporter for gun rights who served in the U.S. Air Force from 2000 to 2004 and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. The Virginia primary elections are scheduled to be held on June 21.

Rep. Elaine Luria answers questions during a town hall at New Hope Baptist Church in Virginia Beach on Oct. 3, 2019.

The Democrat-proposed package comes as a direct response to last week’s massacre in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers lost their lives in an elementary school shooting.

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., told Fox News Digital in a statement on Wednesday that the recent shootings “highlight the need for Congress to pass commonsense gun reform” and expressed her support for measures that take aim at controlling bump stocks.

“The manufacture of new machine guns has been illegal in the United States for decades. Yet bump stocks and similar devices to augment firing capacities circumnavigate the law to produce fully automatic weapons like the ones used in the 1 October mass shooting in Las Vegas,” she said. “The Closing the Bump Stock Loophole Act will permanently subject these dangerous devices to strict regulation under the National Firearms Act, making it illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess bump stocks for civilian use. We must take real, commonsense action to prevent future tragedies. Thoughts and prayers alone will not save lives. Americans deserve action.”

Rep. Dina Titus speaks at the Nevada Democratic Party's election results watch party on Nov. 6, 2018, in Las Vegas.

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Titus is in the unenviable position of having her seat made significantly more competitive by redistricting while her own party controls the state government. She represented a safe Las Vegas-based seat before 2020, while Nevada had two other competitive but Republican-leaning congressional districts and one deep red district.

But this year legislators extended her district out past the Las Vegas suburbs and made her share some of the area’s urban and suburban voters with two other districts, creating seats that leaned slightly blue instead of slightly red. In the process, they made Titus’ seat nearly evenly split along party lines too.

Democratic Ohio Senate candidate Tim Ryan, who currently represents the state’s 13th Congressional District, said in a recent statement shared with Fox News that he is “frustrated” that legislation from House Democrats is being “stalled” in the Senate by individuals who refuse to “do the right thing.”

“No parent should ever have to wonder whether their kid will come home safe from school, no child should ever have to learn in fear, and no teacher should have to risk their life to educate their students,” Ryan said. “But while we mourn the 21 Americans murdered in another entirely preventable attack, I am beyond frustrated that the legislation we passed out of the House continue to stall in the Senate, held hostage by the filibuster and by politicians who refuse to do the right thing.”

Rep. Tim Ryan answers a question during Ohio's U.S. Senate Democratic primary debate on March 28, 2022, at Central State University in Wilberforce.

“This isn’t about penalizing gun owners – it’s about having the moral courage to keep our kids, our families, and our communities safe,” he added. “It’s literally a matter of life and death and the Senate must act.”

Ryan will face off later this year against Trump-endorsed Republican candidate JD Vance in Ohio’s open Senate seat race.

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A new USA Today Network Ohio/Suffolk University survey released this week showed Vance, who has received extensive praise from conservatives in the state, with a razor-thin edge over Ryan in the race.

Ryan, who’s championed the working class during his many years in Congress and during his unsuccessful 2020 White House run, handily bested two lesser-known rivals to win the May 3 Democratic Senate primary election in Ohio.

Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., the former chief of the Orlando Police Department who is vying for Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s seat this year, has also expressed through her campaign certain support for “common sense measures” related to firearms that protect residents in the state.

In a statement to Politico on Wednesday, Christian Slater, the communications director for Demings, said the congresswoman “knows we can’t afford to have law enforcement outgunned on the streets and will continue holding Marco Rubio accountable for refusing to pass common sense measures to protect communities from violent criminals.”

Rep. Val Demings questions Attorney General Merrick Garland during a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on Capitol Hill, Oct. 21, 2021.

Demings, who was first elected to Congress in 2016 and insisted she was on President Biden’s “short list” of nominees for vice president, has been forced to distance herself from comments made by several of her colleagues in the Democratic Party, specifically those who use “defund the police” rhetoric.

“When we take the time to talk to communities throughout our nation, particularly those in high crime areas, you know what they tell us. Those communities say we want to fund the police. Matter of fact, we want to see more police,” Demings said at a press conference on Capitol Hill in February.

The House will vote on some form of the package when they return to session next week, but even if it passes it is expected to go nowhere in the Senate.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson, Paul Steinhauser, Aishah Hasnie and Timothy H.J. Nerozzi contributed to this report.

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