Politics

Where South Floridians in Congress stand on gun legislation

From top, left to right: Sen. Marco Rubio (R), Sen. Bill Nelson (D), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R), Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D), Rep. Frederica Wilson (D), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R).
From top, left to right: Sen. Marco Rubio (R), Sen. Bill Nelson (D), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R), Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D), Rep. Frederica Wilson (D), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R).

The pressure is building in Washington.

Students are meeting with President Donald Trump, organizing protests outside the White House and planning a mass demonstration in March with the aim of getting Congress to do something to prevent another mass school shooting after the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week.

In response, Trump has indicated he’s considering support of a narrowly tailored bill that would ensure federal and state authorities accurately report relevant criminal-history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and penalize federal agencies that fail to upload relevant records. The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, also has the blessing of the National Rifle Association and Republicans from South Florida, though Murphy tweeted that “no one should pretend this bill alone is an adequate response to this epidemic.”

Trump also directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday to craft regulations to ban “bump stocks” and other devices that turn semi-automatic firearms into automatic weapons.

President Donald Trump said he would make a trip to Parkland, Florida, after the deadly school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018. About four minutes into his address to the nation, he spoke directly to "America's c

But where does South Florida’s congressional delegation stand on various federal bills that could limit access to guns and firearm accessories if passed into law?

Below is a list of relevant recent congressional legislation related to guns, and where South Florida’s two U.S. senators and eight U.S. representatives stand on such proposals, including campaign contributions from the NRA.

BILLS, RATINGS, CONTRIBUTIONS

The AR-15 assault rifle is commonly used in mass shootings in the United States. Here's a closer look at likely reasons why.

▪ Assault weapons ban: Congress passed a ban on certain semi-automatic “assault style” firearms like the AR-15 used in the Parkland shooting in 1994, though the ban expired in 2004 and wasn’t renewed. A bill to reinstate the ban in 2013 after the Sandy Hook school shooting failed in the U.S. Senate.

▪ Raising the age to legally own semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15 from 18 to 21. The 19-year-old Parkland shooter suspect legally purchased an AR-15 rifle after he turned 18. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein plans to introduce legislation that would raise the age requirements.

▪ Bump stock ban: Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo introduced a bill after the Las Vegas shooting in October that would ban “bump stocks,” or legal modifications to semiautomatic weapons that allow them to fire like automatic weapons. So far, there haven’t been any votes on Curbelo’s bill.

▪ Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act: This bill would allow concealed carry permits obtained in one state to be valid in another state, essentially transforming concealed carry permits into transferable documents like driver’s licenses. The bill passed the House and awaits consideration in the U.S. Senate.

The deadly Las Vegas shooting brought to light the use of a device called a "bump stock,” which allows a semi-automatic rifle to mimic a fully automatic ones. Critics say that the device disregards current federal restrictions on automatic guns, b

▪ Purchasing guns while on the terror watch list: Feinstein introduced legislation after the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016 that would prevent U.S. citizens under investigation for suspected terrorist activity from purchasing a gun, while Cornyn countered with legislation that would have installed a review period for people on the terror watch list wishing to purchase guns. Both measures failed in the U.S. Senate; the House didn’t vote on them.

▪ NRA letter grades: How did the NRA judge a lawmakers votes on gun issues? An “A” grade indicates the NRA supports the lawmaker, an “F” grade indicates they do not.

▪ Campaign contributions from the NRA: How much money in direct campaign contributions a member of Congress has received from the NRA since 1998. The money does not include indirect campaign spending by the NRA to support or oppose a candidate for office. A * indicates the lawmaker accepted NRA money during the current 2018 campaign cycle.

THE LAWMAKERS:

A banner criticising Florida senator Marco Rubio and the National Rifle Association was flown over Miami Beach on February 17 after the senator deflected questions on gun control following a school shooting in Parkland. The banner, which read “Sha

Sen. Marco Rubio (R):

Assault Weapons Ban: AGAINST. Rubio voted against the 2013 assault weapons ban that failed in the U.S. Senate.

Raising the age to legally own rifles like the AR-15 from 18 to 21: IN FAVOR. Rubio said during a townhall meeting in Sunrise Wednesday night that he supports a bill that would raise the age to own guns.

Congressional action to ban bump stocks: IN FAVOR (but) Rubio said he would vote for legislation to ban bump stocks in the U.S. Senate, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should take the lead on any action.

“I think the [ATF] has the authority to ban them right now and I think they’re going to ban them,” Rubio said on “Facing South Florida.” “If something allows a gun to do what a gun is not legally allowed to do, they shouldn’t be able to sell you a device that allows you to do it.”

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act: IN FAVOR. Rubio co-sponsored the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act when it was introduced in the Senate in 2013.

Purchasing guns while on the terror watch list: IN FAVOR. Rubio voted against a failed 2016 amendment that would have prevented anyone on the federal terrorism watch list and other terrorist databases from buying firearms or explosives, arguing that the group affected would be too broad. Instead, he supported a Republican-sponsored amendment that would have instituted a 72-hour review period before the purchase of a gun by anyone who is a terrorism suspect or has been the subject of a terrorism investigation within the last five years. That amendment also failed.

NRA Grade: A+ (2016)

NRA campaign contributions since 1998: $4,950

Sen. Bill Nelson (D):

Assault Weapons Ban: IN FAVOR. Nelson voted in favor of the 2013 assault weapons ban, which failed in the U.S. Senate.

Raising the age to legally own rifles like the AR-15 from 18 to 21: IN FAVOR. Nelson has indicated his support for raising the minimum age to purchase assault rifles since the Parkland shooting.

Congressional action to ban bump stocks: IN FAVOR. Nelson called for banning bump stocks shortly after the Las Vegas shooting in October.

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act: AGAINST. Nelson voted against the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act in 2013 when it came up in the Senate.

Purchasing guns while on the terror watch list: AGAINST. Nelson has repeatedly lamented the U.S. Senate’s vote against the Feinstein amendment that would have barred anyone on the terror watch list from purchasing a gun.

NRA Grade: F

NRA campaign contributions since 1998: $0

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R):

Assault Weapons Ban: AGAINST.

Raising the age to legally own rifles like the AR-15 from 18 to 21: LEANS AGAINST

Congressional action to ban bump stocks: IN FAVOR

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act: IN FAVOR

Purchasing guns while on the terror watch list: DIDN’T VOTE

NRA Grade: A (2016)

NRA campaign contributions since 1998: $27,450*

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D):

Assault Weapons Ban: IN FAVOR

Raising the age to legally own rifles like the AR-15 from 18 to 21: IN FAVOR

Congressional action to ban bump stocks: IN FAVOR

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act: AGAINST

Purchasing guns while on the terror watch list: DIDN’T VOTE

NRA Grade: F (2016)

NRA campaign contributions since 1998: $0

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R):

Assault Weapons Ban: NOT IN CONGRESS. In a statement Tuesday, Curbelo said, “Everything should be on the table.”

Raising the age to legally own rifles like the AR-15 from 18 to 21: IN FAVOR

Congressional action to ban bump stocks: IN FAVOR

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act: AGAINST

Purchasing guns while on the terror watch list: DIDN’T VOTE

NRA Grade: C (2016)

NRA campaign contributions since 1998: $7,450

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R):

Assault Weapons Ban: IN FAVOR

Raising the age to legally own rifles like the AR-15 from 18 to 21: IN FAVOR

Congressional action to ban bump stocks: IN FAVOR

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act: AGAINST

Purchasing guns while on the terror watch list: DIDN’T VOTE

NRA Grade: A (2016)

NRA campaign contributions since 1998: $2,000

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D):

Assault Weapons Ban: IN FAVOR

Raising the age to legally own rifles like the AR-15 from 18 to 21: IN FAVOR

Congressional action to ban bump stocks: IN FAVOR

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act: AGAINST

Purchasing guns while on the terror watch list: DIDN’T VOTE

NRA Grade: F

NRA campaign contributions since 1998: $0

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Ted Deutch

Rep. Ted Deutch (D):

Assault Weapons Ban: IN FAVOR

Raising the age to legally own rifles like the AR-15 from 18 to 21: IN FAVOR

Congressional action to ban bump stocks: IN FAVOR

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act: AGAINST

Purchasing guns while on the terror watch list: DIDN’T VOTE

NRA Grade: F

NRA campaign contributions since 1998: $0

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Alcee Hastings

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D):

Assault Weapons Ban: IN FAVOR

Raising the age to legally own rifles like the AR-15 from 18 to 21: IN FAVOR

Congressional action to ban bump stocks: IN FAVOR

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act: AGAINST

Purchasing guns while on the terror watch list: DIDN’T VOTE

NRA Grade: F

NRA campaign contributions since 1998: $1,000

440px-Lois_Frankel,_Official_portrait,_113th_Congress
Lois Frankel

Rep. Lois Frankel (D):

Assault Weapons Ban: IN FAVOR

Raising the age to legally own rifles like the AR-15 from 18 to 21: IN FAVOR

Congressional action to ban bump stocks: IN FAVOR

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act: AGAINST

Purchasing guns while on the terror watch list: DIDN’T VOTE

NRA Grade: F

NRA campaign contributions since 1998: $0

Alex Daugherty: 202-383-6049, @alextdaugherty

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