Lawmakers call on Congress to take up gun reform on 5-year Parkland shooting anniversary

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(WASHINGTON) — The fifth anniversary of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, which left 17 people dead, falls just hours after the shooting at Michigan State University which left at least three people dead and is the 67th mass shooting this year.

Florida lawmakers Rep. Jared Moskowitz and Rep. Maxwell Frost reflected on the anniversary during a “GMA3” appearance Tuesday and called on Congress to do more on gun control.

“We’re here obviously, commemorating the 17 lives that were lost at my high school, the five-year anniversary, and yet the eve of that we have another mass shooting. For all the parents and family members that have lost loved ones from these mass shootings, especially those in Parkland – it rips the scab off, and never, never never allows it to heal. Because it’s a reminder that this stuff is still happening every single solitary day in America,” Moskowitz said.

“Five years later, we feel like we’ve made some progress and then we were reminded that nothing has changed,” he added.

Moskowitz, who graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 1999 and had a young son at a nearby preschool near the massacre, recalled the horror of that day on the Florida House Floor days after the shooting.

“My four-year-old recently learned how to write his name. So we signed him up for a writing class. That writing class was going on in Parkland on the afternoon of February 14th, around the corner from Douglas, and that class was taught by Jen Guttenberg. You see, she lost her daughter, Jamie, while she was teaching my son how to write. She put my kid in the closet when her daughter died. I wanted to say thank you at the funeral. I didn’t know how to do that,” Moskowitz said as a then Florida State rep. in 2018.

As a Florida State representative, he championed the cause and now as the Vice chairman of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force says it’s something he hopes Congress addresses.

“It’s an indictment on government officials that we have not been able to stop this. I remember one Parkland parent saying to me and saying to the president, actually after the shooting that 9/11 happened once and we fixed it. There should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it,” Moskowitz said.

President Joe Biden signed into law the gun safety package passed by Congress last June and while not as sweeping as he requested and did not include a ban on assault weapons, it was the first gun reform bill in decades.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act forces tougher checks on young buyers and encourages states to remove guns from people considered a threat.

But there is still more to be done according to freshman Congressman Maxwell Frost, who helped organize the first “March for our Lives” protest days after the Parkland shooting.

“It is a uniquely American problem, and it’s because of the inaction of our leaders… there’s a lot of work that needs to be done…there’s been 67 this year, more mass shootings than there are days in the year that we’ve seen happen. I want people to know this isn’t normal. It shouldn’t be normal. We deserve better than losing 100 of our lives, 100 of our people every day due to an issue that can be resolved that has a solution,” Frost said.

“Everybody who dies due to gun violence, it’s a policy failure. And we have to have the conversation and we have to continue to pass legislation to save lives,” he added.

Frost was sworn into Congress last month and is the youngest member to serve in Congress. He says his goal is to continue to get more people engaged in this issue and to “advocate for the world.”

“They created an energy, the March for Our Lives, a movement that bridged the gap between cool and consciousness and brought a whole generation of young people to the table to advocate for the world. They believe in ending gun violence and having a world where everybody has the resources that they deserve,” Frost said.

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