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House lawmakers went back and forth Thursday in raw, emotional testimony as they fought over whether to enact new gun restrictions in the wake of continued mass shootings.

Democrats leading the House Judiciary Committee recounted the horror of shootings stretching back decades. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., whose son Jordan Davis was shot and killed in 2015, said there was no time left to act.

“We cannot keep doing this. An entire generation of children are learning that the adults cannot or will not protect them,” McBath said. “This is the moment. It may be the only moment we have left.”

House Republicans lamented they were kept out of talks for the legislation taken up Thursday and argued that Democrats were moving too fast with proposals that will only curb Second Amendment gun rights.

Rep. Tom McClintock speaks during the House Judiciary’s Protecting Our Kids Act full committee markup meeting on Thursday. (House TV via YouTube)

“I can tell you this, and let me be clear, you are not going to bully your way into stripping Americans of their fundamental rights,” Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., said.

House lawmakers spent the morning debating the Protect Our Kids Act, a sweeping package of gun restrictions that would raise the age for buying a semiautomatic rifle, enact new limits on magazine sizes, regulate gun storage and curb the sale of bump stocks and so-called ghost guns.

Throughout the testimony, Democrats recounted gut-wrenching anecdotes from the most recent spate of attacks. Madeleine Dean spoke of the 11-year-old who covered herself in her classmate’s blood to hide from the shooter at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Rep. Madeleine Dean speaks during the House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday.
Rep. Madeleine Dean speaks during the House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday. (House TV via YouTube)

“What have we taught our children?” Dean said.

But House Republicans framed the argument as an attempt by Democrats to seize control from citizens by limiting their ability to protect themselves.

“You can’t make a good law by putting six bad laws together,” said Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., who trolled gun control supporters on Twitter last December with a Christmas photo of him and his family wielding guns.

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