Alan Grayson to introduce bill that would ban assault weapons

Alan Grayson AP photo

One of the weapons Omar Mateen used in his shooting spree last week in Orlando that killed 49 people was a Sig Sauer MCX rifle, which was originally designed for Special Operations Forces.

Central Florida area Democratic Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Alan Grayson says if the killer hadn’t been able to purchase that gun, the massacre at the Pulse nightclub wouldn’t have taken place. To address the issue, he says he’ll introduce legislation banning assault weapons on Wednesday in a bill called The Freedom From Fear Act.

“It’s a very practical, simple solution to the problem. When the assault weapons ban was first [in] effect, in 1994, in the following the years we saw a 65 percent decline in mass shootings from assault weapons. So it works, we know it works. The original bill (from 1994), which was a political compromise, had a sunset provision in it. If not for that, we’d have that ban today and many of those victims in Orlando would be alive today,” Grayson said on Saturday while attending the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue event in Hollywood.

The chances aren’t great for such legislation. On Monday, the U.S. Senate rejected four different gun control proposals, two offered by Republicans, two by Democrats. However, there may be movement behind a proposal from Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins that would block people on the TSA’s no-fly list from buying firearms.

Grayson says he thinks there’s a different mood in the country following the Orlando massacre, and remains optimistic about gun control proposals having an opportunity for passage in Congress.

“We’re in one of those circumstances where you may well see the people rise up,” he said. “It’s their life at stake at this point. It is much too easy to kill far too many people very quickly. People recognize that, and that’s why we need to be free from fear.”

Grayson’s proposal comes as gun sales have dramatically increased in Florida in the wake of the Orlando massacre.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement ran 9,854 background checks Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of last week on people hoping to buy firearms, more than double the 4,468 during the same time frame in 2015. Another 3,956 background checks were conducted Wednesday, according to state numbers. Also, gun ranges and businesses offering concealed-weapons classes said they are seeing a spike in business.

Grayson was also disparaging towards Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who got into a celebrated dispute with CNN’s Anderson Cooper last week in Orlando regarding her support for the LGBT community.

Bondi said her understanding was her interview with Cooper would focus on donation scams surrounding the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning. Instead, the CNN anchor grilled her on her history of opposing marriage equality.

“It shows what an amateur she is as an elected official,” Grayson said. “The fact is that he put her on the spot properly for having been in her work as attorney general a virtual homophobe, and she couldn’t take the heat. She did, in fact, flip-flop after the tragedy, and he properly pointed that out and I think he did that in a reasonable manner. If she had a substantive answer, we would have seen it. Instead she claimed falsely that he had committed to certain subjects. I’ve been interviewed by CNN many times, and I can tell you as an elected official with a record, you have to be prepared to answer questions about your record. And that’s true, anytime, anyplace; so as I was watching her afterwards squirming, it seemed like amateur hour to me.”

Grayson will be in Tallahassee Tuesday to file qualifying paperwork for his U.S Senate campaign. He’s also expected to speak about his gun-control proposal.

Mitch Perry

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 [email protected]


  • Geraldine Brylski

    June 21, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    The only thing these are good for is police and military

    • Bob

      July 4, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      Which is exactly why law abiding citizens should have the same right to have them, so we may keep strong arm politicians,and liberal backed military baboons that swore and oath to defend our rights from being able to walk over us like a bunch of rainbow patch wearing goose stepping storm troopers blindly doing what the great Abomination or Queen Heller tell them to do!

  • Chris

    June 22, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Cars kill more people than guns so you might want to ban cars first then worry about guns

    • Shayla

      June 23, 2016 at 1:03 am

      At least cars require training, a license, and insurance. Why can’t we require the same for firearms?

      • Bob Onit

        July 2, 2016 at 8:36 pm

        Cars are not in the constitution. Thanks for playing.

        • Shayla

          July 3, 2016 at 5:17 pm

          No genius, cars are not in the constitution, yet require all of this to operate. A gun is manufactured for the sole purpose of killing what it is pointed at. Why is no training required when it’s only use is to kill?

  • Jim Dillon

    June 22, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Enough !

  • Eric Rivera

    June 22, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    This is common sense. Nobody needs a assault rifle unless they are going to do a mass shooting.

    • JJ

      June 27, 2016 at 9:52 pm

      If some crazy person comes in to the bar or your home with any type of gun how can you defend your self?
      This idiot in Orlando could buy the gun any where on the street private seller etc. You ban any type of gun and the government will Stat killing more people than they are now. This type of guns will defend tyranny!!
      I you know what that is.

    • Bob Onit

      July 2, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      Thats funny, the only mass shooting I go on with my so called “assault weapon” is at the range aimed at paper

  • Bob Onit

    July 2, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Nope, sorry, you cant have my guns. Go away and move if you dislike this countrys gun laws.

Comments are closed.


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