Press Release

U.S. Rep. Castor & U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to stem the gun violence epidemic in America

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Washington, February 28, 2019 | comments
The voices of our neighbors who have been advocating for new laws to end gun violence prevailed this week in a dramatic break from the past when U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) and the U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to stem the gun violence epidemic in America.
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The voices of our neighbors who have been advocating for new laws to end gun violence prevailed this week in a dramatic break from the past when U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) and the U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to stem the gun violence epidemic in America. Republicans had previously blocked any hearings or votes on measures like the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and the Enhanced Background Checks Act.

“The Bipartisan Background Checks Act that I championed is a commonsense step to address gun violence and establish measures that protect our community and families. America is suffering from a long-term epidemic of gun violence – each year, 120,000 Americans are injured and 35,000 die by firearms. This bill ensures that all gun sales or transfers are subject to a background check, stopping senseless violence by individuals to themselves and others,” U.S. Rep. Castor said. View all of U.S. Rep. Castor’s floor remarks.

Additionally, the Democratic House passed H.R. 1112 – the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019 – which addresses the Charleston Loophole that currently allows gun dealers to sell a firearm to dangerous individuals if the FBI background check has not been completed within three business days. H.R. 1112 makes the commonsense and important change to extend the review period to 10 business days. 

“In 2017 alone, more than 4,000 guns were sold to people with criminal records, mental illnesses and other circumstances that disqualify them from purchasing a firearm, due to the inability to complete background checks within three business days,” she continued.

“The Democratic majority has taken vital  steps to address the epidemic of gun violence in our country after years of inaction by Republicans in Congress.”

This success is the culmination of U.S. Rep. Castor meeting with and supporting moms, student leaders and other advocates throughout the country and Tampa Bay. She has participated and supported local events like March For Our Lives, town halls, voter registration rallies and meetings with national, state and local leaders to address the gun violence epidemic that sweeps our nation.

“Elections matter; the leadership of the U.S. House changed hands and this week we have passed the first major gun safety legislation in many years – a breakthrough victory for the survivor families, students and so many others who have demanded more than just moments of silence – they want to feel safe going home, to school or church. I want to thank families of victims, Moms Demand Action and student organizers in March for Our Lives – their dedication to the safety of all has led to action in Congress,” U.S. Rep. Castor said.

Both measures now head to the U.S. Senate for a vote.

U.S. Rep. Castor is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee which has oversight responsibilities for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Last year, she pressed Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to commit to greater gun violence prevention research at CDC and has worked with Dr. Karen Liller, a Professor at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Public Health specializing in public health and injury prevention, to urge the State of Florida to join the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), an important and vital step forward to change this trajectory and save lives in Florida. She is also a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, which was established after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and has grown to a membership of more than 165. She supports a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, and has an F rating from the National Rifle Association.

A 2018 Quinnipiac Poll found that 97 percent of Americans support universal background checks.

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