Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA-14) welcomed President Obama’s announcement earlier today that the Administration is taking additional measures to curb gun violence in the United States.
“The President announced today that the federal government will strengthen background checks, improve the enforcement of federal gun laws, increase mental health services, and invest in research to make guns safer,” Congressman Doyle said after the President’s announcement. “These executive actions will save lives and make our country safer without infringing on any law-abiding individual’s right to own firearms. I want to commend President Obama for taking these steps to reduce gun violence in our nation.”
“Unfortunately, there’s only so much the President can do by himself,” Congressman Doyle added. “Other effective measures that the federal government could take to curb gun violence require Congressional approval. The President’s actions stand in stark contrast to the total inaction on this important issue in Congress, where Republicans have been stonewalling legislation like the bipartisan King-Thompson bill to strengthen background checks and close current loopholes in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System that allow criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill to have easy access to guns. The President has done his part. Now, Congress should step up and finish the job.”
“Guns kill 30,000 Americans each year,” Congressman Doyle observed, “but background checks are required for only about two-thirds of the gun sales conducted in the United States. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System stops an average of 170 felons, 50 domestic abusers, and 20 fugitives from buying guns each day. Unfortunately, no system is in place today to prevent these same prohibited purchasers from buying the same guns at gun shows, over the internet, or through newspaper ads with no questions asked – because background checks are not required for these kinds of sales. I believe Congress should take commonsense steps to prevent the sale of firearms to individuals who pose a violent threat to themselves or others. That’s why I’m a cosponsor of H.R. 1217, the King-Thompson bill, which would close these dangerous loopholes.”
The executive actions announced by the President today will make progress in curbing gun violence by:
- Toughening background checks nationwide: The President’s executive actions provide new guidance on existing federal laws, clarifying that any individual in the business of selling firearms must obtain a license through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and therefore conduct background checks on prospective gun purchasers. These actions also include new measures and resources to make the background check system more efficient and effective.
- Protecting communities with bolstered enforcement: The executive actions take new steps to promote smart and effective enforcement of our gun laws – including a proposed increase in funding for more ATF agents, greater resources for tracking illegal online firearms trafficking and strengthened domestic violence outreach efforts.
- Improving mental health services: The President is proposing increased investment to expand access to mental health care. Further, the executive actions remove barriers that prevent the reporting of relevant mental health information to the background check system.
- Undertaking new research into gun safety: The executive actions direct the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into new technology to make firearms safer.
for more information about the President’s initiative to reduce gun violence.
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