Tuesday, April 11 is day 101 in 2023 and America has already experienced 146 mass shootings.
25-year-old Connor Sturgeon, a bank employee at Old National Bank, had learned about his forthcoming termination and wrote a note to loved ones before heading to work on Monday morning, April 10.
Sturgeon then opened fire inside a conference room during a morning meeting at the bank located in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, killing five and injuring eight others, according to law enforcement.
U.S. Representative Maxwell Frost watched the news break and the situation unfold in what is now starting to become a routine — similar to that of watching the evening news to see who won the lottery.
This was just hours before he was set to take the stage for a news conference where he was joined by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and other community leaders to discuss the Gen-Z congressman’s first bill — bicameral legislation to establish an Office of Gun Violence Prevention in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
“I was prepping my remarks for a press conference today on my bill to help end gun violence when I saw this news come in. I’M OVER THE MESSED UP IRONY. OVER THE DEATH. AND OVER THE INACTION FROM NRA BOUGHT & PAID FOR POLITICIANS,” Frost quote-tweeted with CNN coverage of the shooting.
The bill, introduced alongside Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, brings all federal entities involved with working on gun violence and those impacted by gun violence into one office.
They’ll advance policy, collect and report data, expand state and local outreach, and maximize existing programs and services related to preventing gun violence, according to a press release released with the bill.
“It’s dizzying to understand how many different offices, how many different federal officials, are involved in just implementing this one bill. A bill that doesn’t solve the whole problem. Multiple agencies, multiple offices. DOE, DOJ, HHS, Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, ATF — they all have a role to play in keeping our communities safe. But nowhere in the federal government is one office dedicated every single day to coordinate the effort of addressing gun violence,” said Murphy.
The conference also comes after a deadly Easter Weekend in Frost’s home area of Orlando where two separate shootings took place on Easter Sunday — six, including three children, were killed.
Frost was joined on the Orlando City Hall steps by Orlando Mayor Dyer and several anti-gun violence advocates on Monday afternoon to discuss the necessity of the office considering the recent string of violence — not just in the area but nationally.
“Daily problems require daily solutions, and believe it or not, the federal government does not have one singular federal office that works to end gun violence on a daily basis,” said Frost at the news conference.
Dyer offered similar sentiments, reiterating its necessity as the country grapples with how to cut down on the amount of tragedies that seem to be occurring more at a staggering pace.
“We should never accept this as our country’s new normal,” Dyer said. “Preventing acts of gun violence should be a priority for Congress and that’s why we support the creation of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention.”
However, Frost’s first-ever bill faces an uncertain future as a Democrat in a Republican-controlled House. But if passed, this is what it would do:
1. Convene an Advisory Council of senior DOJ officials, survivors, community violence intervention providers, public health officials, medical professionals who provide trauma care, mental health clinicians, state and local public health department officials, teachers, members of student groups, and veterans.
2. Coordinate gun violence prevention efforts across federal agencies.
3. Identify gaps in data needed for gun violence prevention research, policy development, and strategy implementation, and develop a plan to collect and analyze the data.
4. Make policy recommendations.
5. Educate the general public about federal laws, regulations, and available grant programs, including awareness campaigns directed at firearm owners, parents and legal guardians of minors, and gun violence prevention professionals, that include education related to safe storage of firearms and suicide prevention.
6. Optimize the administration of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
7. Annually report information to Congress on gun violence in the United States, recommendations for policy initiatives to reduce gun violence, and a description of the Director’s activities.
Frost has been making the national media rounds since Monday’s press conference, which started with an MSNBC appearance yesterday and Good Day Orlando.
“What we will refuse is politicians who go in front of cameras and say there’s nothing we can do. If that’s the energy that you’re bringing to this problem, you don’t belong in the seat of power… because every death is a policy failure,” Frost said during his MSNBC appearance.