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During her term in Congress, gun reform was one of the main issues Mucarsel-Powell took-on with her own legislation. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
During her term in Congress, gun reform was one of the main issues Mucarsel-Powell took-on with her own legislation. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is back and she’s tackling gun reform with a vengeance

The former Florida Congresswoman serves as a senior advisor for Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by Gabrielle Giffords. 

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Since being ousted by Republican opponent Carlos Giménez for her South Florida district (FL-22), which includes Miami-Dade, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell has maintained a seat within influential sectors in politics, namely those in favor of gun reform. 

During her term in Congress, it was one of the main issues Mucarsel-Powell took-on with her own legislation.  

In February 2020, she was appointed to the Vice Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. 

Later that year, in September 2020, she introduced a “common sense” legislation to curb the illegal trafficking of firearms and prevent gun violence. The bill would require training for federally-licensed gun dealers and their employees. Training would also equip weapon sellers to be able to identify fraudulent gun sales, and would make it a crime for dealers to sell a gun to someone if they know the purchase is illegal.

Now, nearly four months since she left office, she was most recently appointed as a senior advisor for Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Arizona Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. 

“It is an honor to announce that I am joining @GiffordsCourage as Senior advisor to work on ending gun violence in our nation. This is personal for Gabby as it is for me. Together we’ll make sure we do everything we can to protect our children from gun violence,” Mucarsel-Powel wrote on Twitter.

For her, it is personal. 

In addition to being a survivor of gun violence herself, Mucarsel-Powell lost her father to gun violence over two decades ago.

In 1996, he was shot and killed outside of his home in Ecuador, her home country, before she emigrated to the United States as a teenager.

But aside from the personal attachment, Mucarsel-Powell will be working at a time when recent mass-shootings in the United States have resurfaced the national conversation on gun legislation. In less than a month, three major mass-shootings claimed the lives of more than 20 people. 

Florida has grappled with its own rise in mass shootings. 

The 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland left 17 dead, and a gunman in the 2016 shooting at the LGBTQ Pulse nightclub in Orlando took 49 lives.

In an interview with NBC, Mucarsel-Powell said she has become close with families who have lost loved ones in mass shootings, including a woman who lost her son in the Orlando shooting. 

Her job now will be to convince an evenly divided Senate to pass gun safety legislation, like the recent Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021. It would expand background checks for all firearm sales or transfers in the country. The legislation would also close a loophole in federal law that allows gun sales without a completed background check after three business days. 

But there’s more to gun control advocacy when it comes to her new position other than pushing for it within Congress. It is also down to Mucarsel-Powel and Giffords’ organization to educate the public and raise awareness on the issue. 

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