Bacon: Congressional gun bill won’t stop violence

Following party lines, Omaha Congressman voted down ‘Protect Our Kids Act,’ Iowa’s Axne voted to support
Congressman Don Bacon, R-Neb.
Congressman Don Bacon, R-Neb.(WOWT)
Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 11:59 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Two of the area’s Congressional representatives issued statements following Wednesday’s vote on the gun bill brought forth by Democrats.

HR-7910, known as the “Protecting Our Kids Act,” passed 223-204 mostly along party lines following testimony from recent shooting victims and family members including 11-year-old Miah Cerrillo, who covered herself with a dead classmate’s blood to avoid being shot at the Uvalde elementary school on May 24.

Rep. Don Bacon, a Republican representing Nebraska’s 2nd District, voted no, but supported one section of the bill that would require the Attorney General to submit a written report a year after the bill is enacted.

“What this piece of legislation does not do is address how the shooter in the majority of these incidents has exhibited concerning behaviors on social media and in public and it does not provide mental health services to those who need it,” said Bacon. “Finally, it does not do anything to keep perpetrators out of our schools. I urge my colleagues to reconsider this bill and provide real solutions to this issue. If every measure in this bill was passed, there would still be a significant need to improve school security, and this bill does nothing in this area.”

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb.

Bacon said he was opposed to raising the age limit for a gun purchase beyond that of the legal age to vote or serve in the military — unless the person had a history of violence.

“I oppose raising the age of purchase because this country trusts young adults at the age of 18 to vote and to serve in the military protecting our country. So why aren’t they considered mature enough to purchase a gun? If a person has a record of violence, then I would support, but I cannot when this impacts adults who have done nothing wrong,” he said in a release.

The Congressman said that portions of HR-7910 “focused on law-abiding citizens and not criminals,” and that House Republicans hadn’t been allowed to give input on the bill. He said that more cooperation is happening on the Senate’s gun reform bill, and that any “meaningful legislation” is more likely to come from those lawmakers.

“I have introduced legislation strengthening penalties against straw purchases, an act where someone buys a gun for another person, who is not legally allowed to have one because law enforcement have told ne [sic] this is the top thing we can do to restrict criminals’ access to guns,” Bacon said. “But this bill would make it illegal to purchase a gun for someone who is lawfully allowed to have a firearm or to lend someone your firearm if they want to use it for firearm training purposes. Why are we punishing someone who is following the law and not punishing someone who isn’t? In fact, it would be a felony to purchase a gun as a gift for a friend who is legally able to have one.”

Rep. Adrian Smith, a Republican representing Nebraska’s 3rd District, and Rep. Randy Feenstra, a Republican representing Iowa’s 4th District, also both voted no.

Rep. Cindy Axne, a Democrat representing Iowa’s 4th District, voted yes on the bill.

“We’ve seen too many horrors unfold in recent weeks — from children and teachers shot and killed at an elementary school in Texas to two young women tragically gunned down in a church parking lot here in Iowa,” Rep. Axne said. “These types of shootings have been unaddressed for far too long and it is past time for Congress to act on common sense gun legislation. I cast my vote along with a bipartisan majority this week to protect our children and our communities by preventing teens and at-risk individuals from getting their hands on semi-automatic weapons, and restricting bump stocks and high capacity magazines. The Senate must act now to keep Americans safe.”

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa

Axne also supported HR-2377, known as the “Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2022,” introduced in April but amended by the House Judiciary Committee last week. The act, known as the “red flag bill,” would let family members and law enforcement officers petition a federal court for “an extreme risk protection order” to bar an individual deemed a danger by the court from having access to firearms for a temporary amount of time.

Bacon voted in favor of an amendment to HR-7910 opposing red flag laws.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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