Congressman Supports Commonsense Gun Reform: “Protecting Our Kids Act”

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In the wake of the epidemic of gun violence, mass shootings and attacks on young school children, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) issued the following statement in support of H.R. 7910, The Protecting Our Kids Act of 2022, as it was marked up and passed out of the House Judiciary Committee.

“It has been nine days since we lost 21 souls in Uvalde, Texas. 19 children and two teachers. We cannot ignore our problem, which is out-of-control gun violence in America. We must lead. We must act. We must act now. Acting now will take courage. Each of us on this committee should call forward some semblance of courage, like the courage that was on display last week by those brave Border Patrol Agents who put their lives at risk to stop the carnage in Uvalde, Texas.

“I ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle: can you put aside your thirst for power and muster the courage to stand up for our kids and against the NRA? My friends, history will not forget those politicians and the phony patriots who cared more about maintaining their grip on power and serving the interest of the NRA than they did about protecting our kids from out-of-control gun violence. Columbine, Sandy Hook, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Virginia Tech, UC Santa Barbara, the list goes on and on. None of these heinous atrocities moved Congress to act. We must not let Uvalde be the same. Our constituents need to know that we hear from them, and we will act on their behalf.

“The fact of the matter is that more than 311,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine. This violence, this carnage cannot be what America is all about. The time for minor reforms is gone. Congress must take comprehensive legislative action to stop the murders of our children. In the name of all who have perished at the hands of a firearm, we must do something. In the name of Columbine, we must crackdown on straw purchases. In the name of Route 91, let’s ban bump stocks. In the name of Sandy Hook, Pulse Nightclub, El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, let’s ban high-capacity magazines. In the name of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Buffalo, and Uvalde, let’s raise the age of purchase to 21 years of age. This misguided pledge that some of us have of allegiance to guns, and yes to the NRA, it must and. It must end today and now. Not tomorrow, not next year, but now. For the people of the United States, demanding meaningful, effective action, let’s pass the Protecting Our Kids Act. With that, I yield back.”

H.R. 7910, The Protecting Our Kids Act of 2022 is a critical step forward in protecting our families, communities, and schools from:

•    Raise the lawful age to purchase a semiautomatic centerfire rifle from 18 to 21 years old.
•    Establish a new federal offense for the import, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of a large capacity magazines, with exceptions for certain law enforcement uses and the possession (but not sale) of grandfathered magazines; allow state and local governments to use the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program to compensate individuals who surrender large capacity magazines through a buyback program.
•    Establish new federal offenses for gun trafficking and straw purchasers and authorize seizure of the property and proceeds of the offense.
•    Establish voluntary best practices for safe firearm storage; award grants for Safe Firearm Storage Assistance Programs; provide a tax credit for 10% of amounts received from the retail sale of safe storage devices.
•    Establish requirements to regulate the storage of firearms on residential premises; create criminal penalties for violation of the requirements.
•    Build on ATF’s regulatory bump stock ban by listing bump stocks under the National Firearms Act (like machine guns) and statutorily banning the manufacture, sale, or possession of bump stocks for civilian use.
•    Build on ATF’s regulatory ban of ghost guns by ensuring that ghost guns are subject to existing federal firearm regulation by amending the definition of “firearm” to include gun kits and partial receivers and changing the definition of “manufacturing firearms” to include assembling firearms using 3D printing.

Today, more people are carrying guns in America, legally and illegally, than ever, and mass shootings are a common occurrence. There are nearly 400 million firearms circulating in America — more guns than people — and gun violence is responsible for more than 32,000 deaths every year. In the last two weeks, 31 people have been murdered and another 20 injured at the hands of two 18-year-olds legally armed with semiautomatic assault rifles. These latest attacks primarily targeted the most vulnerable of our communities – the young and the elderly. With so many guns on the street, Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 7910 — common-sense strategies to effectively reduce gun violence across the country by promoting safe storage of firearms, addressing do-it-yourself ghost guns and bump stocks, strengthening gun laws that allow guns to be trafficked from state to state, and raising the age that certain semiautomatic firearms can lawfully be possessed.

Read the full bill HERE.

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