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Debbie Mucarsel-Powell says fighting for gun control is personal for her

On Sunday, Miami U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo called on GOP congressional leaders to introduce gun control measures for consideration by the House and Senate.

“What we need is congressional leaders, specifically in my party, to allow some of these bills to come to the floor for debate,” Curbelo said on ABC’s This Week. He was referring to proposals to expand background checks for purchasing guns, prevent people on the “No Fly” list from having instant access to weapons, and ban “bump stocks” which allow semi-automatic firearms to mimic automatic ones.

Curbelo was one of a handful of congressional Republicans who appeared on national television over the weekend to lend support to some form of gun control following last week’s mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, one of several Democrats running for the nomination to oppose Curbelo in Florida’s 26th Congressional District, slammed the Miami Republican’s response and his previous support for the NRA. And she said that the death of her father from a firearm is why she is so committed to passing gun control measures if she can get to Washington.

“It is clear to me that Carlos Curbelo doesn’t understand what it’s like to be touched by gun violence,” she said in a statement released Sunday. “I’ve lived the reality of what gun violence does to a family; because of a criminal with a gun, my father didn’t have the chance to walk me down the aisle when I married my husband, or meet my wonderful children. There is no question that my experience shapes the way I understand gun violence in our community. It is insulting that Congressman Curbelo continues to offer lip service while accepting big campaign donations from the gun lobby.”

Shortly after the news broke about the killings in Parkland, Mucarsel-Powell, an Ecuadorian native, issued a series of tweets where she mentioned how her father was shot and killed by a criminal with a gun in Ecuador.

Mucarsel-Powell says she supports a handful of specific bills to reduce gun violence, like banning the sale of military-style weapons like the AR-15 used by the shooter in Wednesday’s incident. She also says she wants to close a background check loophole which allows private sellers without a federal license to sell guns, and she would strengthen background checks so that domestic abusers, those affected by mental illness and terrorists don’t have access to purchasing a gun.

“These are firm actions that are immediately needed and would be more effective in ending gun violence,” she says. “If I am lucky enough to serve, have no doubt that you can count on me to fight for these three initiatives and not take a dime from gun manufacturers, the NRA, or any entity that makes money while our children pay with their lives.”

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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