Party Lines Hold in the Florida Delegation as House Passes Gun Control Package

This week, the U.S. House passed a gun control package on a 223-204 vote which mostly mirrored party lines.

Republican U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Chris Jacobs of New York, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Fred Upton of Michigan joined the Democratic majority in voting for the bill from U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-NY, the chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Two Democrats–U.S. Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon–voted with most Republicans against the proposal.

Nadler’s package included raising the age to buy some semiautomatic weapons from 18 to 21, increased funds for local buyback programs, offer more regulations on ghost guns and bump stocks and offer tax incentives for gun safes.

Party lines also held as the House passed a bill from U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., offering a temporary ban on Americans buying guns if law enforcement or family members believe they are at risk of harming others or themselves. McBath’s bill passed on a 224-202 vote with the same five Republicans voting with the Democrats in support of the bill. Golden was the only Democrat to vote against the proposal.

The Florida delegation broke down on party lines on both votes.

Retiring U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., explained why he voted for the proposals.

“Again and again and again, Congress has done nothing to protect Americans—to protect schoolchildren—from mass shootings. We owed it to the thousands of families who have been torn apart by gun violence. We owed it to the 19 grieving parents in Uvalde. We owed it to every child going to school today in America,” Deutch said. “Today, we began to do better. Today, we passed the Protecting Our Kids Act.

“The laws we passed today could have saved at least 437 lives since Columbine,” he added. “We voted to raise the age to buy semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21. That could have saved 56 lives lost in mass shootings since Columbine, including the 17 lost in Parkland. We voted to ban high-capacity magazines for rifles and handguns and to ban bump stocks for civilian use. That could have saved 311 lives since Columbine. We voted to pass best practices for safe gun storage and penalize those who fail to secure a gun from those who can’t own one, including minors. That could have saved 86 lives. We voted to subject ghost guns to existing federal firearm regulations. That could have saved at least 15 lives, including 3 lost in the Philadelphia shooting on Saturday.

“None of these laws violate any American’s constitutional rights. Claims to the contrary are wrong and misleading. Many of them are already enacted in states around the country. The best time to pass this legislation was in 1999, in response to the shooting at Columbine. The next best time was today,” Deutch continued. “Today, in the House chamber, it was time to pick a side. Every single member of Congress was on the record siding with our children or with the gun lobby. I was proud to stand with the children, especially the young people from Parkland. If they have not given up, if they are still marching, so am I. Together, today, we took the next step toward making our nation safer.”

“No parent should fear for their child’s life when their child goes to school, the grocery store, their church, a movie theater, or anywhere else they are supposed to be safe. Guns are the number one killer of children in America—more than car accidents or cancer—it’s horrendous but preventable,”  said U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla. “And the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, similar to the Florida law, is a common-sense, effective measure to empower family members, health care providers, school officials, or law enforcement officers to petition a court to temporarily prevent a person from accessing firearms if they are found to be a danger to themselves or others.

“Both these bills would enact sensible policies to keep our children and families safe from the horrors of gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of people who pose a threat to themselves and others. It’s time to put the lives of our families over politics and make these common-sense measures law,” Frankel added.

U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., took to the House floor to oppose the proposals.

“Guns are not the cause of evil, just like the vehicle used by the domestic terrorist in Waukesha, Wisconsin to mow down innocent people in a parade killing six, the vehicle used was not the cause of that evil…. the person driving it was,” Steube said. “Why are not the victims of that heinous act pictures being shown by the Democrats on the floor today like those victims in Uvalde? Where was the Left’s cry to ban vehicles that killed those innocent lives in Waukesha? There are no cries to ban cars because that’s not on the Left’s agenda, banning guns is and Democrats use these heinous crimes to further the long sought after political objective of disarming America and many Democrats in this chamber have called for outright bans on certain firearms.

“There is a moral decay in our country that has been created by the Left. They have torn down traditional institutions, took God out of our classrooms and systematically destroyed the notion of traditional families and values,” he added. “Just look at these numbers in a recent article from the Christian Post: 75 percent of the most cited school shooters in America are fatherless; 60 percent of America’s rapists grew up without fathers; 63 percent of teenagers who commit suicide don’t have a father in their life; 72 percent of adolescent murderers are fatherless.

The same was true for the murderer at Robb Elementary. I could go on. Why isn’t the majority talking about that? Why isn’t the majority talking about solutions to have role models in our children’s lives? Because that doesn’t accomplish a political objective for them.

“This bill, nor any bill before us this week, will stop mass shootings,” Steube said. “This bill won’t even decrease gun violence and the facts and evidence from the jurisdictions with similar policies in place makes that clear. Just look at any holiday weekend in Chicago and see how many people have been shot with many of these policies already in place. This bill is simply a step further to restrict the ability of law-abiding citizens to own firearms and defend themselves, while doing nothing to address the cultural rot that leads to these acts.”

“As an American, father, son, United States congressman, and human being, the horrors of the acts of violence we’ve seen throughout the country are deeply disturbing and corrode the soul of our great nation. The desire to ‘do something’ is loud and clear, but we must remain clear-eyed when legislating from the highest legislative body in the land. The truth remains, we are a Republic that follows the sacred words of our United States Constitution that stipulates very plainly the right to keep and bear arms,” said U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla.

“The knee-jerk proposals we are voting on today will do little to nothing to curb the infliction of heinous violence plaguing America committed by lawless maniacs hellbent on devaluing innocent life. The unabashed crusade on our Second Amendment exposes the Democrat’s disdain and lack of respect for our fundamental rights established in our founding documents. The people of Florida’s 19th Congressional District sent me to Washington to defend their rights, and I cannot in good faith vote for any radical provision to dismantle Americans’ right to keep and bear arms,” he added.

The bills are not expected to get the 60 votes needed to clear a filibuster in the U.S. Senate.

Kevin Derby
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