Pro-gun control Democrat rep defends release of weapons dealer Viktor Bout

"His weapons might have been used to kill Americans. He has not killed Americans," Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee emphasized.

Joshua Young North Carolina

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), who once said disdainfully that "gun manufacturers run America" appeared on MSNBC host Joy Reid's program on Friday and said of convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, "his weapons might have been used to kill Americans. He has not killed Americans." 

On Thursday, Joe Biden traded WNBA player Brittney Griner with Russia for Bout, who has the nickname "The Merchant of Death." Representative Jackson Lee said, "As the facts would tell them, he was sentenced to 25 years. He served 11 to 16 years. I don't know. They can't remember the exact number."

Bout was arrested in 2008, convicted for conspiring to sell weapons to a terrorist group, sentenced to 25 years in 2012, and released in 2022, according to Axios.

The New York Post said in July that trading Bout for Griner and Whelan would be a "blunder" as Bout supplied guns and various weapons to "the most vicious warlords in the world," helped the Taliban take power in Afghanistan, and enabled "murderous groups to kidnap and train thousands of child soldiers," whom he taught to use rape and torture as methods of war. 

Bout began his career in arms dealing after the collapse of the Soviet Union, taking Soviet-made weapons and selling them to warlords and rogue states in Africa, Asia, and South America. The UN accused Bout of supplying arms to Liberian President Charles Taylor to fight a civil war in Sierra Leone.

According to Fox News, in 2021 Jackson Lee proposed a gun control bill that "would create a national firearm registry, set a minimum gun ownership age at 21 and both require licensing and psychological evaluations."

Jackson Lee wrote on Twitter in 2021, "Bloodshed, again, in America's workplace. Families are now suffering the loss of their loved ones, which is inexplicable and tragic! Again, gun laws are stuck in the United States Senate. It is a travesty and disgrace that Republicans are still blocking reasonable gun safety… legislation. People are dying! We have had the greatest number of mass shootings that I have ever seen since being in the United States Congress. We must demand that we move these bills."

"We must support leaders of the Senate who are moving on this legislation and stop letting the gun manufacturers run America!"

According to her website, some of the bill she has sponsored are, the "Mental Health Access and Gun Violence Prevention Act of 2021,"the "Gun Safety: Not Sorry Act of 2021," and the "Gun Violence Reduction Resources Act of 2021."

She has also sponsored the "Stop Hate Acts of White Supremacy Act" and "Leading Against White Supremacy Act of 2022."

Jackson Lee tweeted in 2019 the need for reparations.


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