By Kevin Deutsch
Rep. Ted Deutch on Wednesday called on the U.S. Senate to pass a stalled background check bill “right now” after the mass shooting that killed 21 people at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
“Make them all vote,” said Deutch, who represents Parkland and Coral Springs in the U.S. House of Representatives. “It won’t prevent every act of gun violence, but it will save lives. And the people want it. We must demand it.”
During the Texas shooting Tuesday, the killer barricaded himself in a single room, where he killed 19 kids and two teachers with a legally purchased AR-15, law enforcement officials said.
The school shooting happened four years and three months after the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Deutch, who has represented Parkland since 2010, said he felt “ashamed that Congress did nothing after the gun violence that devastated Parkland and South Florida.”
“And amidst the tremendous sadness I feel for every family that lost a huge piece of its future, from the dreams parents had for their kids to the contributions not made by a committed teacher to her future students, I am outraged. I’m shaking with fury at the pathetic position we’re in. The millionaire gun company lobbyists who work day and night thwarting the will of the people. The way we go from one mass tragedy to another getting a little number each time.”
Last year, the House passed two bills that would have expanded background checks for gun purchases, but neither bill cleared the Senate, where Democrats need at least one Republican vote to overcome a filibuster.
In addition to calling on the Senate to pass the gun background check bill, Deutch said Congress should pass the EAGLES Act, a bill presented by Parkland parent Tony Montalto and his group Stand with Parkland.
Congress should also pass the Luke and Alex School Safety Act, a bill presented by Parkland parent Max Schachter and his group Safe Schools for Alex, Deutch said.
Deutch said both bills would help prevent school shootings and have bipartisan support.
He also called for the passage of Jaime’s Law, a bill presented by Parkland parent Fred Guttenberg that “would make it harder for dangerous people to acquire ammunition to carry out these acts.”
“I watched a generation of young people inspired to action after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School because they were sick of all this fear and death,” the congressman said. “I grew close to so many families who have turned their own grief over losing a loved one into meaningful action…and today rips another piece from their hearts as they confront another mass shooting and the realization that Congress has continued to ignore their pleas for help.”
“With yet another mass murder at an elementary school, with 19 children—children aged ten and under—and two of their dedicated educators gone, can’t we at least do what should be easy? Can’t we, at the very least, do what is bipartisan and straightforward? We have Marched for our Lives. Keep marching. And demand action.”
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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