June 9, 2022 by David Silverberg
Last night, June 8, Southwest Florida’s congressmen voted against the Protecting Our Kids Act, intended to reduce the incidence of gun violence.
The vote on the House bill was complex because there were separate votes on each of its seven clauses, or titles, to determine if they would stay in the bill. This allowed members of Congress to reveal on the record which anti-violence measures they supported or opposed.
The vote followed a day of dramatic testimony from 11-year-old Uvalde, Texas massacre survivor Miah Cerrillo, Uvalde parents and the mother of a victim wounded in the Buffalo, NY massacre.
All seven titles in the bill passed with majority votes, as did the bill itself.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-19-Fla.), who does not live in his district, voted against Title I, which raised the age for sales of semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21. He then sat out votes on Title II, which prohibits straw purchases of firearms and firearms trafficking, and Title III, which prohibits untraceable or “ghost” guns. He voted against Title IV, which requires safe storage of guns to protect children; Title V, which prohibits “bump stocks,” that allow semi-automatic weapons to function as automatic weapons; and Title VI, which prohibits high-capacity magazines.
He did, however, vote in favor of Title VII, which requires the Justice Department to file an annual report on the people who have been denied gun permits. The reports will include their “race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, age, disability, average annual income, and English language proficiency, if available.”
He then voted against the bill in its entirety.
Rep. Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.), voted against all titles except Title VII, which requires the annual report. He also voted against the entire bill.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.), like Steube, voted against all titles except Title VII, which requires the annual report. He too voted against the entire bill.
At an appearance Tuesday morning with Everytown for Gun Safety activists, House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-12-Calif.) asked: “Why would someone be against raising the age so that teenagers do not have AK-47s? Why would someone not want protection in their home so that the children cannot have access – dangerously – to guns in a deadly way? Why would we? Why would we not side with our law enforcement and say these ghost guns are a danger to all of us in our society?”
She continued: “So, for the children, I say to our colleagues: we really don’t want to hear about your political survival. Your political survival means nothing compared to the survival of our children.”
Immediately following the vote Donalds, who has a long record opposing gun safety and anti-violence bills in both the state legislature and Congress, issued a statement saying: “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.” He called the effort to curb gun violence “an unabashed crusade on our Second Amendment” that “exposed the Democrat’s [sic] disdain and lack of respect for our fundamental rights established in our founding documents.”
Steube, an ardent gun possession advocate who waved a loaded pistol during a remote appearance at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, tweeted, “Why are we punishing law-abiding Americans and taking away their Constitutional right to protect themselves because 0.3% of the population commits violent crimes? I won’t stand for it.” He joined Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-3-Colo.) and host Laura Ingraham on Fox News to denounce the measures.
As of this writing, Diaz-Balart, who has switched positions on gun-related issues in the past, had not issued a statement on his votes.
Another gun violence measure, The Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act (HR 2377) is expected to come up for a vote as early as today. This is essentially a national “red flag” law establishing procedures for “federal extreme risk protection orders” and is similar to Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Act, which was passed into law in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., massacre in 2018. These prohibit arms sales to people deemed a risk to themselves or others. Such people will be prohibited from possessing, shipping, transporting or receiving firearms.
In an appearance yesterday, June 8, on the Ari Melber show on MSNBC, Donalds expressed his opposition to red flag laws.
“There are serious Fifth Amendment, constitutional issues with red flag laws because essentially your property can be taken from you by a court of law without you being able to defend yourself in said court of law. Those are the constitutional issues with red flag laws,” he said.
Liberty lives in light
© 2022 by David Silverberg