Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Connecticut US Senator Richard Blumenthal on Tuesday reintroduced Jaime’s Law, a.k.a. The Ammunition Background Check Act of 2021.
Federal law does not require a background check to prevent the illegal purchase of bullets. Named in honor of Jewish student Jaime Guttenberg, one of 17 victims of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida (the Parkland shooting), the law would require all buyers of ammunition to undergo an instant background check using the FBI National Instant Background Check System (NICS).
On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at the high school, killing 17 people and injuring 17 others. The shooter fled the scene on foot by blending in with other students. A suspect, later identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. Police and prosecutors have not offered a motive and are investigating “a pattern of disciplinary issues and unnerving behavior.”
The Parkland killing spree was the deadliest high school shooting in US history, surpassing the Columbine High School massacre that killed 15 including the perpetrators in Colorado in April 1999. The shooting came at a period of heightened public support for gun control that followed mass shootings in Paradise, Nevada, and Sutherland Springs, Texas, in October and November 2017.
Fred Guttenberg, the founder of Orange Ribbons For Jaime, said: “My daughter Jaime was murdered over 3 years ago. Since then, our failure to address the reality of gun violence has only become more challenging as we see more instances of gun violence. The gun surge unleashed during the pandemic has resulted in over 400,000,000 weapons on our streets. Unfortunately, as we are seeing every day now, many in the hands of someone who intends harm and wants to kill. The way to deal with this reality is to pass Jaime’s law and extend background checks to ammunition. The reality of gun violence in America will not fix itself. We need this life-saving legislation or we will continue to face our current daily reality of gun violence and loss of life. We are better than this. THE TIME IS NOW!!! Let’s save lives together and pass Jaime’s Law.”
Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz said: “No person should endure the agonizing pain of losing someone they love to gun violence. Families in towns and cities across the country who have been touched by this agonizing epidemic are joining Fred Guttenberg and other gun safety advocates to demand Congress address this public health crisis. Jaime’s Law is a crucial piece of the multifaceted approach needed to end the gun violence epidemic. Closing the ammunition loophole and requiring background checks for ammunition purchases can save lives.”
Fred Guttenberg told CBS4 in Miami: “This law would not have changed what happened to my daughter. I am now doing what I do because I want to save lives from gun violence. The gun lobby is weakened and this is the year to pass legislation.”
But Guttenberg also noted, “I’m not counting on any support from Rick Scott or Marco Rubio.” Both are Florida’s representatives in the US Senate.