Rep. Val Demings makes gun control legislation high priority

Representative details seven bills she's co-sponsored or introduced

By Clay LePard - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - A new report shows at least 26 people have been arrested for threatening to commit mass shootings since the massacres in Dayton and El Paso, with several of those arrests happening  in central Florida. 

That's just one measure being done to prevent the next mass shooting, as several controversial bills are making their way through Congress, as well. 

One of the most vocal advocates for new gun control legislation is U.S. Rep. Val Demings, who spoke to News 6 at her office in Orlando on Wednesday.

"Orlando has it's own story, a painful story, and now is the time to get this done," she said. 

Demings, a former Orlando Police Department chief, co-sponsored bills expanding background checks, banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, preventing those convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from owning a gun, and a bill similar to Florida's risk protection order, which passed as part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act last year. 

"We're glad our state took the initiative," she said. "We want other states to take the initiative, but for other states that do not, we want the federal government to step in." 

The representative from Florida's 10th District also introduced two of her own bills: one to ban the use of funding to buy guns for teachers and another that would regulate armor piercing, concealable weapons.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump expressed concern about new gun control legislation that calls for stronger background checks for gun purchases.

"They call it the slippery slope and, all of a sudden, everything gets taken away. We're not going to let that happen," Trump said while speaking to reporters as he departed the White House for Kentucky. The president said he considers gun violence a public health issue and is considering ways to make background checks more strict.

Told the "slippery slope" argument is a National Rifle Association talking point, Trump said, "It's a Trump talking point."

"I heard what he said yesterday and I shouldn't be disappointed, but I was disappointed," Demings said. "As people are dying and being gunned down in his country, he has chosen to repeat the NRA's talking points. It's shameful and disgraceful." 

On Wednesday, however, Trump reiterated his plan to work with both sides to fix loopholes with background checks.

"Assuming they want to get this done, we can get it done," the president said.

Next month, the House Judiciary Committee will look at several bills she co-sponsored, while the U.S. Senate has yet to set a date on when a vote could occur on two bills dealing with background checks that have passed the House.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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