Office of Rep. Derek Kilmer announcement.
On June 9, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted to support the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act/Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, legislation he co-sponsored to help end the epidemic of gun violence in America. Extreme risk laws – also known as “red flag laws” – aim to empower family members, loved ones, and law enforcement to intervene and temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing firearms. The legislation passed the House with bipartisan support.
Specifically, the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act/Extreme Risk Protection Order Act would enable family members and law enforcement to obtain an extreme risk protection order to temporarily remove access to firearms for those who are deemed a danger to themselves or to others by a federal court. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia, including Washington state, currently have extreme risk protection orders in place, and this legislation would set a national standard that aims to help save lives. The legislation also is designed to create incentives for more states to adopt extreme risk protection order laws – creating a new grant program at the U.S. Department of Justice to help encourage states to adopt these protection order laws and to support the 19 states that have already implemented them.
“Over the last few weeks, our nation has grappled with too many senseless, terrible tragedies. From Buffalo to Uvalde, we simply cannot accept such tragedies as the norm. When there are clear warning signs that someone might harm themselves or put others at risk, it makes sense to take actions that could prevent a tragedy from happening. That’s why I supported this commonsense bill,” said Rep. Kilmer. “Republican- and Democratic-led states – including Washington – have passed similar laws, and the data suggest that these types of laws can help save lives. That’s why the vast majority of Americans support legislation like this to keep guns out of the hands of those who might threaten our kids and our communities.”
According to an Everytown analysis on mass shootings, from 2009 to 2020, 56 percent of shooters exhibited warning signs that they posed a risk to themselves or others before they carried out the shooting. The same report found that these warning signs are even more apparent among perpetrators of school violence. According to the report, for example, students and teachers at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, reported that the mass shooter displayed threatening behavior before the February 2018 shooting. His mother had contacted law enforcement on multiple occasions regarding his behavior and he was known to possess firearms. Yet no legal action could be taken to remove his firearms. In response to that tragedy where 17 students and staff were shot and killed and 17 more were wounded, Florida passed its own Extreme Risk law.
Yesterday, Rep. Kilmer voted to support the Protecting Our Kids Act – a comprehensive package of gun violence prevention proposals that aims to help stop the spread of gun-related crimes and help prevent future mass casualty shootings. The legislation, which Rep. Kilmer co-sponsored, will raise the purchasing age for certain semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21 years old, crack down on gun trafficking and straw purchases to get illegal guns off our streets, close the ghost gun loophole, strengthen safe storage requirements to protect children from accidental shootings, and outlaw bump stocks and high-capacity magazines for civilian use.
In 2021, Rep. Kilmer co-sponsored and voted for the Bipartisan Background Checks Act (H.R. 8) and the Enhanced Background Checks Act (H.R.1446). The Bipartisan Background Checks Act would require a background check for all firearm sales and the Enhanced Background Checks Act would address what’s known as the “Charleston loophole” by ensuring that a background check is fully completed before the firearm is transferred to the purchaser. This loophole received national attention following the tragic 2015 mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina that resulted in the murders of nine innocent people.
In addition, as the House begins the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2023, Rep. Kilmer is pushing for funding for the STOP School Violence Act program. In 2018, Rep. Kilmer worked in collaboration with the parents of Sandy Hook Elementary to introduce and pass the STOP School Violence Act, which provides resources to schools to implement proven methods of combating gun violence. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, he has secured ongoing funding for this law over the last two appropriations cycles to support students, teachers, and others in efforts to spot and report warning signs of gun violence before a tragedy occurs.