House Democrats introduce bill to close existing gun loopholes and prevent mass shootings

Val Demings
Getty Images

Eight House Democrats unveiled legislation on Wednesday aiming to close existing gun law loopholes and prevent mass shootings.

Rep. Val Demings’s (D-Fla.) office said in a statement that the lawmakers’ goal is to move “swiftly on a package of common-sense efforts to close obvious loopholes in America’s gun laws, prevent mass shootings, and protect law enforcement officers and the public from high-powered, rapid-firing and untraceable weapons.”

H.R. 3299, the “Protecting Our Communities Act,” comes as a series of mass shootings over the past few months has fueled calls for gun reform. A series of shootings at three Atlanta-area spas left eight dead, including six Asian women, in March. Another roughly one week later at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., killed 10.

The House in response passed a bill tightening background checks on firearm transfers and sales, and President Biden has unveiled a series of executive actions aimed at addressing gun violence.

The Department of Justice in early May unveiled a proposed rule that would close a loophole allowing people to avoid background checks as they purchase do-it-yourself “ghost guns,” which don’t come with a serial number.

Demings, who is planning to run for the Senate next year, said in the statement that she is “sick of inaction while easily-fixed loopholes cause death and tragedy in our communities.”

“I’m proud to join with my colleagues on this commonsense legislation,” she said. “Let’s get this done and save lives.”

The bill would regulate concealable assault rifles and require ghost guns to come with a serial number. It would also require federal authorities to notify local law enforcement within 24 hours when someone ineligible to buy a gun lies on a background check.

The measure also codifies a Trump-era rule that banned bump stocks, devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire much more rapidly. The rule was finalized in 2018, one year after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., left 17 people dead.

Demings was joined by Democratic Reps. Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.), Mike Quigley (Ill.), Mike Thompson (Calif.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Joe Neguse (Colo.), Ted Deutch (Fla.) and Peter DeFazio (Ore.).

Tags Adriano Espaillat ghost guns gun deaths gun laws Gun politics Gun reform gun violence Joe Biden Joe Neguse Mike Quigley Mike Thompson Peter DeFazio Sheila Jackson Lee Ted Deutch Val Demings
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