Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz is continuing to make curbing gun violence a top issue through two new bills introduced in the House.
One targets so-called “ghost guns,” firearms sometimes made entirely of plastic that are largely undetectable by metal detectors and many security scanning systems.
The other deals with the effects of live shooter response efforts at schools.
“We are in the midst of a gun violence crisis in this country and must take every step possible to ensure no other communities experience the tragedy like the one we experienced in Parkland,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
One day before, Moskowitz filed HR 4074, which would ban the online distribution of blueprints and instructions for 3D printing guns. The bill has since been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, which is led by U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and includes U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz and Laurel Lee of Florida, all Republicans.
The use of ghost guns in U.S. crimes has risen more than 1,000% since 2017, according to a February report from the Department of Justice. Police requests submitted to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for the tracing of ghost guns skyrocketed from 1,629 in 2017 to 19,273 in 2021, the report said, while noting the data is likely underreported.
“These guns are almost impossible to trace, and with the recent emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), wrongdoers could now use AI to mass produce guns,” a press note from Moskowitz’s Office said. “3D printers are now able to produce ‘switches,’ a device that can be placed on a handgun to turn it into a mini-machine gun. When this device is used, as many as 30 rounds can be fired in two seconds.”
Moskowitz’s Office cited a recent federal investigation in North Texas that highlighted how easily switches can be made.
Democratic U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Brad Schneider of Illinois are co-sponsoring Moskowitz’s measure.
Moskowitz also recently signed on as a co-sponsor to HR 3872, titled the “School Safety Drill Research Act.” Other co-sponsors to the bill, which Democratic U.S. Rep. Brittany Pettersen of Colorado filed last week, include Republican U.S. Reps. Bryan Fitzpatrick and Nancy Mace.
The bill would require the U.S. Secretary of Education to enter into an agreement with the congressionally chartered National Academies for a study of the mental health effects of lockdown and active shooter drills on elementary and secondary school students.
Moskowitz’s Office said such drills are practiced in 95% of schools across the U.S.
“The bipartisan School Safety Drill Research Act would provide K-12 schools with evidence-backed, standardized recommendations for conducting effective drills while protecting the mental well-being of students, parents, teachers and school personnel,” the press note said.
Following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Moskowitz, then a state lawmaker, worked with victims’ families and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and delivered a passionate speech on the Florida House floor that helped pass the state’s first gun safety law in two decades. The bill, among other things, raised the legal age to buy long rifles to 21 — a limit Republican state lawmakers narrowly failed to repeal this past Legislative Session.
In something of an echo of that measure, Moskowitz last month introduced legislation to raise the age to 25 for the purchase of semiautomatic firearms, which constitute most of the guns sold yearly.
He also is co-sponsoring HR 2870, titled the “Raise the Age Act of 2023,” by Democratic U.S. Rep. Glenn Ivey of Maryland. That measure, which pends its first hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, would raise the minimum age for buying semiautomatic centerfire rifles to 21.