Washington Rep. Kilmer spurs push for gun control in Congress

Sep 12, 2019, 5:15 AM | Updated: 8:58 am
Derek Kilmer, gun control...
Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer. (AP)

Congress has been in session following its August recess for less than three days, and Washington Congressman Derek Kilmer is already making noise over gun control.

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A trio of gun control bills have already passed through the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, with Kilmer operating as one of the loudest voices in support.

“I’ve been in Congress for six-and-a-half years, and for the first six years I can’t count how many moments of silence have been held. I can count how many moments of action there were: Basically zero,” he told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross.

The three bills cover a good deal of territory, regulating the purchase of gun magazines, strengthening red flag laws (much in the same way Washington state already has), and putting restrictions on gun purchasing for people convicted of hate crimes.

Kilmer also touts the lifting of restrictions that in the past have limited crucial research into the root causes of gun violence.

“Already, you have seen a lifting of the prohibition on research by the Centers for Disease Control on the issue of gun violence,” he described. “The fact that the main federal agency tasked with protecting public health had been prohibited by law from even studying the issue of gun violence I think is completely bonkers.”

Washington’s Extreme Risk Protection Orders explained

Six months ago, the House passed a universal background check bill, and later, a measure to provide resources to schools to prevent shootings.

All told, the hope is to spur action in the direct wake of a pair of tragic shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas.

“I think what you see is a continued push to just acknowledge that this is not something that we should accept as normal,” said Kilmer. “That’s changed now since the House is under new management — you’re finally starting to see some effort to move legislation in this space.”

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Washington Rep. Kilmer spurs push for gun control in Congress