New Florida Congressman Maxwell Frost focuses on gun violence in first bill

Tribune Content Agency

U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost, Orlando’s new Gen Z congressman, is making gun violence the focus of his first bill.

Frost filed legislation on Wednesday that would create an office within the U.S. Department of Justice to coordinate the nation’s response to gun violence.

“I got involved in politics because of gun violence,” the 26-year-old Democrat said in an interview. “Going to the vigil after Sandy Hook served as my call to action. It is an issue I hold close to my heart. It’s an issue that plagues Central Florida.”

While a variety of federal agencies handle aspects of gun violence prevention, no centralized office exists to spearhead the federal government’s response, Frost said

Frost’s bill proposes creating the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which would take on that role.

The new office would collect and report data on gun violence, engage a variety of public agencies on the issue, make policy recommendations to lawmakers and the president, educate the public and report annually to Congress.

“This would be a first of many steps to ensure the federal government has a coordinated response to gun violence,” Frost said.

Before being elected to Congress, Frost worked as national organizing director for March for Our Lives, an organization that advocates for gun control.

The 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that left 20 students and six faculty members dead inspired Frost to engage in politics. He said he traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend a vigil for the victims when he was 15 years old.

As he campaigned for office last year, he made gun violence prevention a centerpiece of his platform.

The U.S. recorded more than 44,000 gun violence deaths from all causes including suicides in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Frost has co-sponsored other gun violence measures, including a ban on certain semi-automatic guns, such as the AR-15 rifle.

With Republicans in control of the U.S. House, Democrats will face an uphill climb to advance their legislative priorities.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut is sponsoring companion legislation to Frost’s bill in the Senate, which Democrats control.