President Obama’s Gun Violence Executive Actionsby Representative Robin L. Kelly
Posted on 2016-01-06
KELLY of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to applaud President
Obama's executive actions taken this week to reduce gun violence in
America. These policies will help keep guns out of the hands of
criminals and dangerous individuals and will prevent gun trafficking,
while also protecting the Second Amendment rights of responsible, law-
With over 30 Americans killed by guns every single day, inaction is not an option. In my nearly 3 years in Congress, House Republican leadership has refused to do anything on gun violence, not one hearing, not a single vote.
In facing Congress' inertia, President Obama did what was necessary to address a threat to our long-term national security and economic stability. While we can't stop every criminal from committing every crime, we can take actions that will save lives, and President Obama's executive actions will do just that.
Under these commonsense changes, everyone who profits from the sale of firearms will be required to obtain a license. It shouldn't matter if you sell a gun in a store, online, or at a gun show. It is the sale of a dangerous weapon, and the seller should make sure the buyer is safe, responsible, and law-abiding.
It is a sobering fact that the majority of gun deaths in the United States is from suicide. Expanding Federal funding for mental health services and streamlining States' abilities to report data to the background check system are essential to keeping guns out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill.
President Obama's executive actions make essential strides in advancing smart gun technology. If you can use a thumbprint to get into your iPhone, there is no reason that the same technology can't be invented so that guns won't fire without the right fingerprint. If a gun would only fire when it [[Page H20]] is held by the right owner, stolen guns would be inoperable, drastically decreasing firearm deaths.
Similarly, just like there are childproof caps on aspirin, there should be childproof guns. This will help protect children from accidentally discharging firearms. Smart gun technology is centuries old. Smith & Wesson invented the first childproof trigger over 150 years ago.
While President Obama's executive actions are crucial steps to reducing the senseless gun violence that is plaguing our Nation, they don't absolve Congress of its moral responsibility to act. There are gaps in existing gun laws that leave us all vulnerable to gun violence. These holes are ones that only Congress can plug.
I have two commonsense bills which will complement President Obama's executive actions and help bring a reduction in firearm mortality.
The first bill, H.R. 224, the Recognizing Gun Violence as a Public Health Emergency Act, would require the Surgeon General to submit an annual report to Congress on the public health impact of gun violence. The bill currently has 135 cosponsors, and I hope that this commonsense proposal can get an up-or-down vote this year.
For the past 20 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health have been prevented from conducting research on firearms. This lack of data has limited academic research on guns, and it has prevented Congress from obtaining the data it needs to craft impactful legislation.
The second bill, H.R. 225, the Firearm Safety Act, would close the loophole which prevents the Consumer Product Safety Commission from creating rules regarding the safety of firearms.
Quite simply, if the Consumer Product Safety Commission can regulate teddy bears, bicycle helmets, and car seats, it should be able to regulate firearms. Simply improving safety lock quality and improving storage safety will reduce accidents, misfires, and will prevent theft, saving thousands of lives.
These bills would give Congress the data it needs to pass meaningful and impactful gun violence prevention legislation, and they would ensure firearms are as safe and consumer friendly as possible, all without obstructing the Second Amendment rights of responsible gun owners.
Senseless gun violence has been plaguing our Nation for too long. It is simply unacceptable in the United States of America that gun violence is the leading cause of death for people under 24. It is time for us to come together to end the gun violence that is taking a generation of young Americans.
I applaud President Obama's leadership and his important actions to curb the violence that is plaguing our communities, actions he took because Congress has done nothing, not even calling up bipartisan bills with many cosponsors. Congress must now carry the torch and pass meaningful gun violence prevention legislation.