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"No Guns for Sex Offenders -Period"

Location: Washington, DC

"No Guns for Sex Offenders -Period"

Wasserman Schultz passes amendment that will ban firearms for misdemeanor sex offenders

Rep. Wasserman Schultz passed an amendment today in the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee that will prohibit sex offenders convicted of misdemeanors, perpetrated against a minor, from obtaining or possessing firearms.

"Keeping guns out of the hands of sex offenders just makes common sense," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "Why we don't already have a law prohibiting convicted sex offenders from owning a firearm is beyond me."

Under current law, it is illegal to sell a gun to anyone convicted of a felony in any state. It is also illegal for any individual convicted of such a crime to possess a gun. A felony is a crime punishable by more than one year in jail. Some misdemeanors, such as domestic violence offenses, already are treated like felonies when it comes to prohibiting firearms possession.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz offered her amendment to the "Firearms Corrections and Improvements Act" (H.R. 5005) when it came before the Judiciary Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. The amendment was passed unanimously by voice vote.

The distinction between a felony and a misdemeanor is not always the same from one jurisdiction to the other. Some jurisdictions may take into account the particular victim's susceptibility to injury, while elsewhere, the unfortunate loss of important evidence or a victim's unwillingness to testify against his or her abuser might turn a strong felony prosecution into a misdemeanor plea bargain.

"This amendment will allow states to protect communities from a small, but extremely dangerous segment of society," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "We cannot allow sexual predators to use firearms to destroy the innocence of another child or break the heart of one more parent."

The Wasserman Schultz "Ban on firearm for person convicted of a misdemeanor sex offense against a minor" amendment will be voted on by the full House of Representatives when H.R. 5005 is considered, likely next week.

This was Rep. Wasserman Schultz's second successful amendment to protect children from sex offenders. Earlier this year, she passed an amendment to the Children's Safety Act, later signed into law by the President, that provides for civil confinement of violent sex predators.

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