U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger on Tuesday signed petitions to move three gun control bills out of committee to the House floor, in memory of two Richmond-area girls killed by gun violence.
The local congresswoman is leading a charge for an immediate vote on the Assault Weapons Ban, Bipartisan Background Checks Act, and Enhanced Background Checks Act, according to a release from Spanberger’s office.
“After the Uvalde shooting, my daughter cried and cried and cried and cried and said, ‘Those children must have been so scared.’ And she spoke about what it would have been like for those kids,” said Spanberger at a press conference in Washington on Tuesday.
“As her parent, I had to console her, and as a legislator, I had to come back to this place, meet with my colleagues, and say—again, ‘We must do more.’”
A member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, Spanberger spoke alongside fellow task force members, Democratic leadership, gun violence prevention leaders, survivors and advocates to call on House Republican leadership to take action to address gun violence and prevent mass shootings.
The Bipartisan Background Checks Act has overwhelming support on both sides of the aisle and broad support from Americans, according to the release.
The Enhanced Background Checks Act, sponsored by Rep. James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, would save lives lost because of a loophole that exists in the current law.
“And we filed the discharge petition on the Assault Weapons Ban because we know that when weapons that are meant for war are utilized in classrooms and in churches and in synagogues and in grocery stores and on parade routes and in our communities, they result in massive numbers of Americans dying,” Spanberger said at the press conference.
The congresswoman signed the petitions in honor of 9-year-old Markiya Dickson, killed in a shooting in 2019 in a Richmond-area park, and 13-year-old Lucia Bremer, murdered by gun violence in 2021 in Henrico County.
The proposed Assault Weapons Ban would prohibit the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of semiautomatic weapons and ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 15 rounds, the release stated.
The legislation would not prohibit continued possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines lawfully owned before enactment and would not apply to certain firearms like antiques and certain hunting or sporting rifles.
Spanberger has cosponsored the Assault Weapons Ban three times.
The United States previously had a federal Assault Weapons Ban in place from 1994 until 2004. During that period, gun massacres dropped by nearly 40 percent. Since Congress allowed this previous ban to expire, gun massacres have tripled nationwide, according to the release.