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A New Proposal To Address Mass Shootings

June 8, 2022

In recent weeks I’ve heard from a huge number of Northern Virginians in letters, calls, and at community events about the urgent need to address gun violence. Like you, I am horrified by recent mass shootings that have claimed so many innocent lives. 

These tragedies, including the killing of 19 children and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX, the killing of 10 people at a grocery story in Buffalo, NY, and the killing of two doctors, a receptionist, and a patient at a hospital in Tulsa, OK, are just the latest in a uniquely American trend of ever-increasing mass shootings. All three were committed with AR-15s.

Guns designed for use on the battlefield are taking a deadly toll of innocent life lost in schools, grocery stores, churches, hospitals, synagogues, malls, bars, and so on. These weapons are a menace to our society which no one needs.

For years I have called for action to prevent mass shootings. I support and will continue to vote for commonsense reforms to prevent gun violence – but these measures inevitably run aground on Senate Republican filibusters.

So, this week I am proposing a new idea: a bill to reduce the flow of weapons of war into American communities using a legislative mechanism designed to be compliant with budget reconciliation, which means it could pass into law with a simple 50-vote majority in the Senate.

This legislation would apply a 1000 percent excise tax on manufacturers, producers, or importers of assault weapons, defined using legislative language drawn from the Assault Weapons Ban Act of 2021, which I cosponsor. It would also apply to high capacity magazines.

You can read more about this legislation, which I will introduce soon, here:

Business InsiderA House Democrat plans to introduce a bill that would hit AR-15s with a 1,000% tax — and it could pass Congress without GOP votes

CBS NewsHow one lawmaker wants to curb gun sales: A 1,000% tax on semi-automatic weapons

In addition, I continue to proudly lead the charge to pass a federal law to promote extreme risk protection orders (also known as “red flag laws”) as a lead cosponsor of the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, which will get a House vote on Thursday. This bill would empower family members and law enforcement to restrict access to guns, after due process, for those who pose a danger to themselves or others.

I was also among the first to cosponsor the Protecting Our Kids Act, which would ban high capacity magazines, raise the minimum age for purchasing assault weapons to 21, create new federal statutes and penalties on straw purchasing and gun trafficking, promote safe storage of firearms, and formally ban bump stocks and ghost guns. This bill is also expected to come up for a vote in the House this week.

These pieces of legislation build on past progress in the House to prevent gun violence, including passage of universal background check legislation and a bill to close the Charleston loophole. I voted for both of those measures and will continue to do everything I can to advance responsible, commonsense solutions to prevent gun violence and save lives.