Rep. Deutch Joins Over 60 Lawmakers in Calling for Biden Administration to Ban Importation of Military-Style Assault Weapons
Today, U.S. Representative Ted Deutch (FL-22) joined Boulder Rep. Joe Neguse (CO-02), Chicago Rep. Robin Kelly (IL-02), and over 60 lawmakers in a letter to President Joe Biden, calling for him to issue an executive order to ban the importation of assault weapons into the United States from abroad.
The letter calls for an importation ban to include semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines and comes just days after Congressman Neguse’s district experienced a devastating mass shooting at King Soopers, which killed 10 victims.
The lawmakers also renewed their previous call for the administration to appoint a gun violence prevention director. On March 8, 2021, two-weeks before the mass shooting in his district, Congressman Neguse led a letter signed by 34 of his colleagues urging the Biden administration to appoint a national director of gun violence prevention who would be charged with cutting firearms casualties in half over the next decade.
Both President George H. W. Bush and President Bill Clinton previously issued importation bans during their respective presidencies. During the 2020 presidential election campaign, President Biden pledged to use his executive authority to ban the importation of assault weapons, while an assault weapons ban could be passed into law by the Congress.
“Assault weapons are the weapon of choice in mass shootings because they maximize the number of people killed,” said Congressman Ted Deutch, who represents Parkland, Florida. “It is outrageous that we allow this weapon of war in our neighborhoods. How many lives could be saved by taking these guns off our streets? We’ve waited too long. President Biden must act now to prevent the flow of weapons of war into our country.”
“This week, my community in Boulder witnessed a horrific and senseless mass shooting in which 10 individuals tragically lost their lives. Our hearts are breaking from this tragedy, and we know this grief is not ours alone, but carried by a nation that has witnessed the horrific pain of gun violence far too many times, ” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “It doesn’t have to be like this. The Congress must reinstate the assault weapons ban and pass meaningful gun violence prevention measures. As we work to enact these measures, there are steps the administration can take immediately that will also help save lives, which is why we are calling on President Biden to immediately issue an executive order banning the importation of military-style assault weapons and appoint a national director of gun violence prevention.”
“For years now, our citizens have cried out to their lawmakers again and again to protect our children and our families from random gun violence, but nothing — nothing has changed,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “Now in just one week’s time we’ve had multiple mass shootings. Lives are lost and countless people have been deeply traumatized. We cannot wait for another mass shooting, another terrorism attack, or Chicago’s next record-breaking month of shootings to take meaningful action. Issuing a ban on the importation of assault weapons is a meaningful first step in limiting access to dangerous firearms and preventing more precious lives from being lost to senseless gun violence.”
“Assault weapons have destroyed too many lives and brought pain to El Paso, Boulder, and communities across America,” said Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, who represents El Paso, Texas. “As my colleagues in Congress and I continue to honor victims and survivors with commonsense gun violence prevention legislation, I am joining Congressman Neguse’s plea to President Biden to issue an Executive Order banning the importation of these lethal weapons. Now is the time to prohibit the import of assault weapons, aggressively enforce this ban, and prevent more mass shooting injuries and deaths.”
“The gun violence tragedies in the past two weeks have reinforced what everyone in Connecticut’s Fifth District have known since that fateful day in Newtown on December 2012, that assault weapons have the power to inflict unspeakable damage in our communities,” said Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, who represents Newtown, Connecticut. “We have to take action to prevent the proliferation of these dangerous guns, and halting the uncontrolled flow of semiautomatic rifles and high capacity magazines in our neighborhoods is a start. This crisis demands comprehensive action -- and I was happy to join this letter which calls for action. I will continue fighting to ensure that no community has to endure the pain of another gun violence catastrophe.”
In 2020, at least 19,379 people lost their lives due to gun violence, a nearly 25% increase from the previous year. On the last day of the year alone, at least 20 people were shot and killed in the United States. These tragedies have struck cities and towns across the nation, many of which are experiencing record levels of gun violence.
Read the full letter here and below:
March 25, 2021
President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Biden,
We write to respectfully request that you issue an Executive Order banning the importation of assault weapons, including semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines, into the United States from abroad.
As our nation battles the health and economic crises created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we simultaneously must combat the persistent and rising violence caused by access to dangerous firearms. America has suffered seven mass killings in this year alone, including in Atlanta last week and in Boulder just three days ago, where 10 victims tragically lost their lives. In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic raged, at least 19,379 people needlessly lost their lives due to gun violence, a 25% increase from 2019. On the last day of the year alone, at least 20 people were shot and killed in the United States. These tragedies have struck cities and towns across the nation, many of which are experiencing record levels of gun violence.
Given the foregoing public health and safety crises, we ask that you issue an executive order to halt the importation of assault weapons, pursuant to the Gun Control Act of 1968, including semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines. Studies demonstrate that both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines contribute greatly to the lethality of gun violence. Banning the import of these weapons will lessen the devastating impact of gun violence in communities across our nation.
We appreciate your commitment to taking executive action to ban the importation of these weapons into the U.S. and urge you to take this life-saving action with the expediency this situation demands.
Thank you for your consideration and efforts to ensure every American is safe.