June 14, 2024

Rep. Demings Votes for Assault Weapon Ban

27-year law enforcement officer has helped lead gun violence prevention efforts

Orlando, FL: Today Rep. Val Demings (FL-10) voted to pass a renewed assault weapons ban through the House Judiciary Committee.

Said Rep. Demings, “As a former 27-year police officer, today I voted to keep the most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the most dangerous people. Assault-style weapons are used to kill mothers, fathers, children, and cops. Victims are not expected to survive because the trauma inflicted on the body is too massive. That makes it the weapon of choice for mass shooters. The American people have demanded action to reduce violent crime and we must act. We cannot sit back as America’s representatives and watch innocent people continue to be gunned down in innocent places.

“In 2019, a shooter in Dayton with an assault weapon shot 26 people and killed nine before police shot him just 32 seconds later. Assault weapons give criminals and terrorists the ability to cause incalculable damage to our families and our communities even when law enforcement is able to respond immediately.

“This bill would have stopped the Pulse shooter, the Parkland shooter, the Uvalde shooter, and countless others from buying their guns. The American people deserve leaders with the courage to protect our communities.”

Background

Uvalde, 2022                         21 Dead.         Assault Weapon

Buffalo, 2022                        10 Dead.        Assault Weapon

San Jose, 2021                      9 Dead.          Assault Weapon

Boulder, 2021                       10 Dead.        Assault Weapon

Midland–Odessa, 2019       7 Dead.           Assault Weapon

Dayton, 2019                        9 Dead.          Assault Weapon

El Paso, 2019                        23 Dead.        Assault Weapon

Tree of Life, 2018                 11 Dead.         Assault Weapon

Nashville, 2018                     4 Dead.          Assault Weapon

Parkland, 2017                     17 Dead.         Assault Weapon

Sutherland Springs, 2017   25 Dead.        Assault Weapon

Las Vegas, 2017                    58 Dead.        Assault Weapon

Pulse, 2016                            49 Dead.        Assault Weapon

San Bernardino, 2015          14 Dead.         Assault Weapon

Sandy Hook, 2012                26 Dead.        Assault Weapon

Aurora, 2012                         12 Dead.         Assault Weapon

Rep. Demings is a Vice-Chair of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

Three quarters of mass shooters buy their guns legally.

When an assault weapon is used in a mass shooting, six times as many people are shot.

An assault weapons ban would mean 70% fewer mass shootings deaths.

Gun violence is the #1 cause of death for children in the United States. A study reviewing gun deaths in 29 high-income countries found that 97% of all gun deaths among children 4 years old or younger happened in the United States, with the other 28 countries combined making up the remaining 3%.

Heather Sher, MD: “One of the trauma surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an AR-15, a semiautomatic rifle that delivers a devastatingly lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim. Nothing was left to repair…Even as a physician trained in trauma situations, there was nothing he could do at the scene to help save the victims who had been shot with the AR-15. Most of them died on the spot; they had no fighting chance at life.”

Mark Kline, MD, chief medical officer and physician-in-chief at Children’s Hospital New Orleans: The explosive power and velocity from assault rifles “disintegrate organs…there’s nothing to repair.”

Ernest E. Moore, MD, Shock Trauma Center, Denver Health: “we in civilian trauma will often manage a 9-millimeter liver injury without an operation, whereas a patient with an assault rifle would be dead within 20 minutes if you didn’t operate…In essence, instead of a virtual drill hole with a 9 millimeter, your path of injury in tissue with an AR-15 will be 6 inches wide. And the path beyond that is even wider, but the tissue recoils back into it.”

William Begg, MD, vice president of medical affairs at Vassar Brothers Medical Center: When you have a child that is hit with between three and 11 high-capacity bullets that explode inside their body, “it’s not a survivable event. “That’s why all these children [at Sandy Hook] died at the scene.”

Alejandro Rios Tovar, MD, Associate Trauma Medical Director at University Medical Center of El Paso: “I am not a military surgeon, but what I saw looked like a war zone. Small gunshot wounds in legs amounted to huge areas of cavitation with exit wounds larger than grapefruit. I had never seen anything like this before. How could a firearm create this type of destruction?… I have treated countless patients with gunshot wounds from small firearms…If this injury had been caused by a smaller firearm, she may have had a chance at survival. But there was absolutely nothing I could do to fix that kind of devastating injury.”

The Assault Weapons Ban would make it unlawful for a person to import, sell, manufacture, or transfer the following:

  • All semi-automatic rifles that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one of the following military features: (1) pistol grip; (2) forward grip; (3) folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; (4) grenade launcher; (5) barrel shroud; or (6) threaded barrel.
  • All semi-automatic rifles that have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
  • Bump fire stocks and any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun.
    All semiautomatic pistols that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one of the following military features: (1) threaded barrel; (2) second pistol grip; (3) barrel shroud; (4) capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip; or (5) semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm.
  • All semi-automatic shotguns that have at least one of the following (1) a folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; (2) pistol grip; (3) fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 5 rounds; (4) ability to accept a detachable magazine; (5) forward grip; (6) grenade launcher; or (7) shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
  • High capacity feeding devices (magazines, strips, and drums) capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.

Rep. Demings voted to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which included:

  • Support to help states set up Risk Protection Order laws, otherwise known as “Red Flag” laws, similar to Florida’s successful program.
  • Closing the “boyfriend loophole” to stop stalkers and people convicted of domestic violence from getting guns.
    • According to Everytown for Gun Violence, every month, an average of 70 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner, and in more than half of mass shootings over the past decade, the perpetrator shot a current or former intimate partner or family member.
  • Enhanced background checks for gun buyers under age 21
    • According to the Washington Post, six of the nine deadliest mass shootings in the United States since 2018 were by people who were 21 or younger
  • New penalties for straw gun purchasing and a federal ban on gun trafficking
  • Support for community behavioral health centers that treat substance and mental health disorders
  • Funding for school-based mental health services
  • Funding for health provider support, training, and telehealth to expand pediatric treatment options and trauma support.
  • Funding for school safety and security, and violence interrupting programs
  • Clarifying the definition of a Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer to ensure that all gun dealers follow the same rules

Rep. Demings cosponsored H.R.2377 – the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act. The legislation will empower federal courts to issue federal extreme risk protection orders, also known as “Red Flags” that allow law enforcement officers to protect families and the community from individuals likely to cause harm to themselves or others. A federal extreme risk protection order is a federal court order that prohibits a person from purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm or ammunition. Florida passed a Red Flag law following the Parkland shooting. “Florida judges have acted more than 8,000 times to keep guns out of the hands of people authorities deemed a risk to themselves or others.”

Rep. Demings supported the Protecting Our Kids Act, a legislative package that closes loopholes in America’s gun laws. It would:

  • Raise the age for purchasing a semiautomatic centerfire rifle from 18 to 21
  • Restrict large-capacity magazines (Rep. Demings previously cosponsored this legislation)
  • Establish requirements regulating the safe storage of firearms (Rep. Demings previously cosponsored a portion of this legislation)
  • Expand the ban on bump stocks, gun modifications that help enable mass shootings. (Rep. Demings previously led legislation including this provision)
  • Restrict access to ghost guns, which are untraceable firearms favored by criminals (Rep. Demings previously cosponsored this legislation)

Rep. Demings led the Protecting Our Communities Act, legislation grouping several high-profile gun safety bills to:

  • Regulate “ghost guns” by requiring gun kits to include a serial number and a background check to complete a sale;
  • Regulate concealable assault rifles which fire armor-piercing ammunition and were specifically designed by gun manufacturers to circumvent the National Firearms Act;
  • Help states enforce existing laws by requiring federal authorities to alert state and local law enforcement within 24 hours when an ineligible individual lies on a background check and tries to purchase a firearm; and
  • Codify the last Administration’s ‘bump stock’ final rule to regulate bump stocks, which allow modification of a weapon to enable rapid firing.

Rep. Demings led the Law Enforcement Protection Act, legislation to regulate concealable armor piercing assault rifles.

  • These types of weapons are concealable and fire armor-piercing ammunition—making them as lethal as an assault rifle. Gun manufacturers have used technical loopholes to design unregulated concealable assault weapons that can penetrate body armor worn by police officers and kill dozens of people in minutes. This legislation will regulate these weapons as we already do other similar firearms.
  • They are specifically designed by gun manufacturers to circumvent the National Firearms Act (NFA)—a federal law regulating the manufacture, transfer, and possession of firearms. Their concealability and lethality make them especially dangerous for law enforcement personnel.
  • The Law Enforcement Protection Act would add armor-piercing, concealable weapons as a category under the National Firearms Act (NFA).

Rep. Demings cosponsored legislation to close the loopholes in our background check system:

  • The Bipartisan Background Checks Act will extend the existing background check requirement for gun purchases conducted by licensed dealers to all purchases, including private sales, unlicensed dealer sales, online sales, and gun show sales. There are a number of exceptions in the bill to cover certain private, temporary transfers, such for hunting purposes.
  • The Enhanced Background Checks Act would close the Charleston Loophole. Current law allows a dealer to transfer a firearm to a purchaser after 3 business days if the background check has not been completed. In 2016 this loophole allowed 4,170 guns to be sold to people who should not have been able to buy a gun. In 2015, this included the shooter in the mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • Background checks are supported by well over 90 percent of the American people – including 90 percent of gun-owning households, as well as dozens of leading law enforcement, veterans, local government, public health and other groups

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