As the third anniversary nears of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17, a congresswoman from New York is looking to bring gun safety to the forefront of the congressional agenda.
Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y. 12th District) has introduced a legislative package containing five bills aimed at improving gun safety in the United States. "We stand alone as a country with mass shootings — there are too many guns," she told Cheddar. "If guns made Americans safer, we'd be the safest country on Earth."
The proposal looks to change many different parts of current gun legislation. One bill attempts to close what's called the "gun show loophole," which can exempt purchasers of firearms from getting a background check if they make the purchase at a retailing event typically held in a large public venue. Another bill looks to up the penalty for trafficking guns, making the crime a felony rather than a misdemeanor — a current technicality the congresswoman called "outrageous."
Jay W. Walker, founding member and organizer of Gays Against Guns, noted along with Maloney the need to confront the "Iron Pipeline," described as "the way guns get out of states with very weak gun laws and into states, especially cities, with stronger gun laws."
A common thread throughout the package is incentivizing what Maloney calls "responsible firearm ownership" with things like requiring liability insurance when purchasing a gun. The plan is to follow in the footsteps of other countries with tighter gun laws, she told Cheddar, who have implemented regulations like these and maintain safer streets.
The representative also expressed hope that the package will move quickly with President Biden in the White House and a Democratic majority in both chambers of Congress to get it passed this year.