Gun laws skyrocket after Pulse shooting
Since the mass shooting at Pulse on June 12, 2016, during which 49 people died and 53 were injured, the debate on gun control and the resulting legislation has been continuous.
Just one day after the shooting, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) proposed a bill that would prohibit individuals convicted of hate crimes from buying or owning guns. Bill S.3053, known as the Hate Crime Prevention Act, would prohibit those who are reasonably suspected of hate crime guilt from purchasing guns. As of June 13, the bill has been read twice and given to the Committee on the Judiciary. It has not yet been passed or rejected by either the Senate or the House.
House bill H.R.2871, known as the Keeping Guns from Criminals Act, was introduced on June 24. Current federal laws criminalize the act of knowingly selling or transferring a firearm to a prohibited person. This bill aims to rid the “knowingly” standard from current legislation, making it a crime to sell or transfer a firearm to a prohibited person regardless of whether the seller knows the person is prohibited from owning or buying guns. This bill was referred to the subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations on July 9.
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) introduced House bill H.R.2939 on June 25. The bill, known as the Enforce Existing Gun Laws Act, aims to remove limitations currently placed on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, such as the requirement to destroy instant background results within 24 hours of creation or the prohibition of centralization in the Department of Justice regarding the records maintained by federal firearm licensees. This bill was referred to the subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations on July 9.
Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) introduced legislation on June 15 which would prevent anyone on a list of known or suspected terrorists from purchasing any type of firearm or explosive. The amendment to bill H.R.2578 was tabled on June 20. An amendment to this amendment was proposed on June 16 by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). Cornyn’s legislation aims to “Secure our Homeland from radical Islamists by Enhancing Law enforcement Detection,” summarized as SHIELD.
Proposed bill H.R. 2612, also known as S.1473, aims to fund the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an effort to conduct or support research on gun violence prevention and safety. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) introduced the respective bills on June 2, both of which propose awarding an additional $10 million to the CDC each year from 2016 to 2021 to conduct the aforementioned research.
House Bill H.R.5532 was introduced by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) just eight days after the shooting and was still under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee as of June 24. This bill, known as the Unlawful Gun Buyer Alert Act, hopes to notify all relevant law enforcement officers if an individual fails a background check, prohibiting them from purchasing a firearm. It was referred to the subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on June 24.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-2 on June 27 that anyone convicted of domestic abuse or reckless domestic assault will be prohibited from buying or owning a firearm in “an effort to close ‘[a] dangerous loophole’ in gun control laws.” The case, Voisine v. United States, was first brought to the Supreme Court last June and was argued for the first time on Feb. 29, 2016.
House resolution H.Res.289 was introduced on June 2 by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) and aims to express that “gun violence is a public health issue, Congress should expand enforceable background checks for all commercial gun sales, improve the mental health system and make gun trafficking and straw purchasing a federal crime,” according to Congress’ website. On June 16, this bill was referred to the subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations. According to Investopedia, a straw purchase is when a person or agent agrees to purchase a good or service for someone who unable to do so themselves.
On June 25, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced legislation to support the creation of National Asking Saves Kids Day, also known as National ASK Day. This day would occur on June 21 and would promote children’s health and gun safety. This day would also encourage parents to be aware of guns at any homes their child visits.
On June 30, California passed multiple bills that prohibit the possession of assault rifle magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition and ban “bullet buttons” which are small release buttons used to quickly swap out magazines, also known as the magazine release.
Alissa Smith is the News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @thealissasmith or email her at AlissaS@centralfloridafuture.com.