U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Parkland, will serve as a co-chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force in the U.S. House, continuing his yearslong work on the issue.
Moskowitz was sworn into his first term, representing Broward and Palm Beach counties, early Saturday morning. He said Monday he’s joining the caucus and would be a vice chair.
Moskowitz has been heavily involved in the issue since the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 17 people were killed and 17 injured.
It personally touched Moskowitz.
He is a Stoneman Douglas graduate. He represented northwest Broward in the state House of Representatives at the time and rushed back home from Tallahassee and spent the night with family members as they learned what had happened to their loved ones at the school.
On the day of the massacre, one of Moskowitz’s young sons was at a nearby school and took refuge in a closet where he was comforted by a teacher. That teacher was Jennifer Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was an MSD student and one of those killed in the massacre.
Moskowitz was instrumental in passage of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which raised the age to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21, created a statewide waiting period for long-gun sales and made it easier for law enforcement to seize weapons from people suspected of being dangerous.
His emotional floor speech in the House, and bringing legislators from elsewhere in the state to see the scene of the carnage in his community, helped sway the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass the law.
It also earned him an F-minus rating from the National Rifle Association — a grade that Moskowitz has said meant he was doing the right thing.
In a statement Monday, Moskowitz said he wants to deliver similar legislation on gun violence prevention, school safety and mental health at the federal level. Starting his first term in Congress, he’ll be one of 16 task force vice chairs. In the last Congress, the task force had more than 180 members.
“I brought together Democrats and Republicans to pass gun violence prevention legislation through the Republican-controlled legislature and Republican Governor and beat the NRA. Now, as vice-chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, I look forward to finding common ground,” Moskowitz said.
Fred Guttenberg, Jaime Guttenberg’s father, was one of several people whose family members were killed in the massacre and endorsed Moskowitz for Congress.
“Jared Moskowitz and I should not know each other but because of the Parkland shooting we do. Following the Parkland shooting, Jared Moskowitz led the effort to pass gun safety measures in Florida. Many are responsible, but Jared is the reason it got done,” Gutenberg said Monday in a statement.