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Texas This Week: U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett discusses bills to reduce gun violence

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The U.S. House of Representatives passed two pieces of legislation aimed at reducing gun crime.

AUSTIN, Texas — In this week’s edition of Texas This Week, KVUE Managing Editor of Political Content Ashley Goudeau talks with U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) about the Protecting Our Children Act and Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act.

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U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett discusses bills to reduce gun violence

As U.S. senators engaged in their second week of negotiations on gun legislation, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills on Wednesday night aimed at stopping school shootings and reducing gun violence – the Protect Our Children Act and Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act. Austin-area Congressman Lloyd Doggett joined KVUE to explain what the policies do. 

Ashley Goudeau: Let’s start by talking about the Protecting Our Children Act. Explain for our viewers what exactly that act does.  

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett: “Well, it’s a modest act. It puts a limit on these large magazines that can include so many rounds and it raises the age limit for purchasing one of the weapons of war, these assault rifles, to 21, the same age it takes to get a beer. And it provides for safe storage and a couple of other modest measures. And it was so disappointing to hear Sen. Cornyn refer to it as a doomed partisan deal because it doesn’t go near far enough. It is was a modest attempt to try to get some Republican support. I think we ended up with four or five Republicans that joined almost all Democrats to approve this. We know that young people getting access to weapons of war has led to so many deaths and we really want to avoid another Uvalde, another El Paso. We have to put some limitation on access to assault weapons.”

Ashley Goudeau: And so what do you say to those Republicans, though, who hear that and say, well, raising the age from 18 to 21 infringes on the rights of those 19- and 20-year-olds to obtain these firearms. What do you say to them?

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett: “I say that access to weapons of war in the hands of young people and some older people has infringed on the lives of every one of those families in Uvalde, of every one of those families in Buffalo, in El Paso, at Sandy Hook – one right after another. And there has to be some balancing here. Asking that you be as old to get an assault weapon as to get a, buy a beer is not an extraordinary restriction. I think overwhelmingly the American people support that. But our Republican allies are so intertwined with the National Rifle Association and so fearful of it that they refuse to join with us. And the condemnation of our efforts, modest as they are, is really, really disappointing. I had hoped that this tragedy so painful would move folks in the right direction. But instead, all we really have is delay, which we’ve had now, four more days – still nothing this week out of the Senate. And distraction, hoping to distract us on the next type of natural disaster or tragedy, focusing on things like mental health, which are certainly important, and I would like to see Texas move out of last place on mental health among the states, but it’s not unusual that a country anywhere in the world has some mental health issues. What makes us unique and exceptional is that we have a flood of guns that are out there accessible to people from high school on. And these weapons of war have only one purpose, and that, and these big magazines, and that is to kill as many people as quickly as possible. That’s what I want to change.”

Ashley Goudeau: I want to talk to you about the other piece of legislation the House passed. That’s the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act. Tell us what that one does.  

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett: “Well, there are some situations where a family member, a neighbor recognizes that there’s a real danger and the stability of an individual and their threats and where they might go into a court and get a kind of, essentially a restraining order, or moving access to weapons for someone. They’re called red flag laws. I think there’s some merit to that, but there are very unique circumstances. And it’s again, it’s just one of the tools that could be out there where there is some advance notice of things really going wrong with an individual to protect themselves and their potential victims –  good thing to do, but not nearly as important, in my opinion, as raising the age for access to an assault weapon and limiting these high capacity magazines.”

Ashley Goudeau: You alluded to this a little bit earlier, but we did hear Sen. Cornyn sort of address some of the pieces of legislation that are included in these acts, as well as the things that President Biden said he wanted to see passed. He said that those are basically nonstarters in the Senate in terms of getting those certain things done. If we’re talking about banning certain types of rifles or raising the age, you know, stopping those high capacity magazines, what’s your response to hear him say that basically the measures that Democrats want are not on the table?  

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett: “Well, I respect Sen. Cornyn, but I believe he’s basically saying if you’re going to pass any law that will prevent another Uvalde type mass killing, we won’t approve it in the Senate. That’s what it really boils down to. And he always points to his NICS act, which did little more than restate existing federal law. I’m willing to get something rather than everything we need, but I’m not willing to vote for a saw that simply gives people good feeling that they’ve done something and pretend that we’re doing something to prevent another mass shooting when we know it really doesn’t do that. So compromise, seeking common ground is a good thing, but not if it’s meaningless. And that’s the concern I have about his comments, because what we proposed might actually prevent another Uvalde. We might not get all of it, but focusing on the gun that kills people quickly and many of them and the magazine that goes in that gun are the two key elements that we need to have in any meaningful legislation. And what it really says to me is that there’s a reason for the delay, and that is the typical tactic of delaying action after a tragedy like this until the public is focused somewhere else. And that’s what appears to be happening in the Senate.”

The Last Word

In this week’s editorial, Ashley Goudeau weighs in on the accounts of the Uvalde school shooting that were heard on Capitol Hill.

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