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Kids shouldn’t have to beg Congress to keep them safe

  • Gun Violence Photo
  • Gun Violence Memorial National Mall UPI Photo

Last week, I received a letter from an 8-year-old constituent of mine about the recent shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children around her age were gunned down in their classroom.

Her words, handwritten on lined composition paper, broke my heart.

“I can’t amagin what they are going throgh this 18 year old had no right to do what he did,” she wrote. Her misspelled words make the fact that she’s only in 2nd grade all the more clear—all the more heart wrenching.

“Pleas never let anything like this hapen again.”

Kids shouldn’t have to beg Congress to keep them safe.

From schools and churches to public gatherings and grocery stores, innocent lives continue to be lost because of senseless gun violence.

It’s been 10 years since 20 children and six educators were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Since then, mass shootings in the U.S. have nearly tripled; 4,118 people have been killed; and there have been 27 mass shootings at schools, including 19 at elementary schools.

Of course, these statistics are from June 2, so they are already out of date.

In Sandy Hook, Aurora, Las Vegas, Parkland, Buffalo, Uvalde, and too many more, the common denominator has been firearms that allow shooters to kill swiftly, easily, and with no special training. There’s no one solution to stopping mass shootings and other forms of gun violence in America — but strengthening background checks and restricting the sales of the most violent weapons and their accessories represent the lowest of the low-hanging fruit.

I could present fact after fact about the disturbing prevalence of gun violence in America. Like the uniquely American fact that more children died from guns than car accidents in 2020. Or that there have been more mass shootings in the U.S. than days so far in 2022.

For decades, these facts have gotten progressively worse and increasingly more alarming. Not even the testimony from an 11-year-old survivor of the Uvalde school shooting — where she said before Congress that she covered herself in her classmate’s blood to fool the shooter —could sway 202 House Republicans into taking real action on gun violence.

Kids shouldn’t have to beg Congress to keep them safe.

I applaud the five House Republicans who joined us to pass the urgently needed “Protecting Our Kids Act” and the “Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act.” I proudly cosponsored both of these commonsense gun violence protection bills to ensure our children don’t grow up in fear like this.

The Protecting Our Kids Act will make an enormous difference in our fight against gun violence by:

  • Raising the purchasing age for certain semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21 years old.
  • Cracking down on gun trafficking and straw purchases to get illegal guns off our streets.
  • Closing the ghost gun loophole.
  • Strengthening safe storage requirements to protect children from accidental shootings.
  • Outlawing bump stocks and high-capacity magazines for civilian use, as these only make mass shootings more deadly.

The Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, or so called “red flag” bill, will keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves or others by implementing a nationwide extreme risk law and encouraging states to enact their own extreme risk laws.

These bills are an important step towards putting an end to senseless gun violence in America, and it’s my hope the Senate will follow the House’s lead soon.

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