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House Democrats propose bill to close gun law loopholes

Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., introduced a bill that groups together several gun safety proposals aiming to close some loopholes. File Pool Photo by Graeme Jennings/UPI
Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., introduced a bill that groups together several gun safety proposals aiming to close some loopholes. File Pool Photo by Graeme Jennings/UPI | License Photo

May 20 (UPI) -- House Democrats have introduced a bill to close loopholes in U.S. gun laws in a effort to prevent mass shootings.

Sponsored by Rep. Val Demings of Florida and introduced Wednesday, the Protecting Our Communities Act groups together several gun safety bills into "an ambitious effort to take action to prevent gun violence," her office said in a statement.

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The broad bill specifically regulates so-called ghost guns by requiring gun kits to include a serial number and a background check to complete a sale while also regulating concealable assault rifles that were manufactured to circumvent the National Firearms Act.

H.R. 3299 also mandates authorities to alert state and local law enforcement within 24 hours of when an ineligible individual lies on a background check when purchasing a gun and codifies the Trump administration's so-called bump stock rule.

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"I'm sick of inaction while easily fixed loopholes cause death and tragedy in our communities," Demings said. "I'm proud to join with my colleagues on this common-sense legislation."

Seven Democrats along with Demings introduced the bill that Demings' office said had the goal to be swiftly passed.

Rep. Adriano Espaillat of New York, whose bill on ghost guns was included in the legislation, said closing loopholes to prevent those who shouldn't have guns from purchasing them is common sense and will save lives.

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"I look forward to continuing my work with my colleagues to ensure we implement comprehensive change that would close these loopholes, expand background checks and improve the overall safety of our communities by making it more difficult for these weapons to fall into the wrong hands," Espaillat said.

The introduction of the law follows a series of high-profile mass shootings in the United States, including one in Boulder, Colo., that killed 10 in March and one in Atlanta, Ga., that resulted in the deaths of six Asian-American women.

According to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive organization, there were 214 mass shootings in the first 138 days of this year, up from 117 from the same period in 2020.

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The shootings prompted President Joe Biden in early April to announce six executive actions to stymie shootings, including ordering the Justice Department to produce a proposed rule on ghost guns.

The department announced the rule May 7, stating more than 23,000 unserialized firearms had been recovered by law enforcement between 2016 and 2020.

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Mourners hold candles Thursday during a vigil for the victims from the mass shooting at a King Soopers grocery store, where 10 people, including a police officer, were killed Monday. Photo by Bob Strong/UPI | License Photo

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