Reason must prevail

October 3, 2017
Enewsletter

Dear Friends,

We are all still reeling from the events that took place in Las Vegas on Sunday night. I vowed long ago not to be silent on the topic of gun violence. It’s a public health epidemic. 

And to those who say that it is too soon to talk about improving gun safety and ways to prevent these mass shootings – you couldn't be more wrong. It is too late!

Yesterday, I shared with you my plan to prevent gun violence. There isn’t one thing alone that will prevent these horrific mass shootings, but there are a series of commonsense steps we can take that will help right now. 
Today, I wanted to share with you the action plan that goes with my report. Most of these actions have corresponding legislation already introduced in the House, while some require additional work with my colleagues.

I hope you will take a look and share your feedback with me. I'm under no illusion that this Congress will pass anything substantial to help address the issue of gun violence, but there will come a time when reason will prevail.


Courage,


Earl Blumenauer
Member of Congress

 

Enough is Enough: A Comprehensive Plan to Improve Gun Safety

Keeping Guns from the Most Dangerous Users: The “private sale loophole” should be closed - no private sales should be conducted without background checks. Comprehensive and uniform background checks will help ensure that only law-abiding, responsible owners have access to guns. More restrictions should be in place to prevent individuals with a pattern of violent or abusive behavior from gun ownership. 

  • End Purchase of Firearms by Dangerous Individuals Act – Would require states to establish reporting systems for mental health professions and amends the federal criminal code to make it unlawful for an individual to sell a firearm or ammunition to a person knowing they’ve been committed for mental illness. (Introduction pending)
  • Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act – Amends federal firearms provisions to expand the definition of “intimate partner” to include dating partners or former dating partners, for the purpose of prohibiting firearm or ammo sales to dangerous individuals. (H.R. 2670)
  • Disarm Hate Act – Prohibits individuals who have been convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime from buying or possessing firearms. (H.R. 2841)
  • Gun Violence Restraining Order Act – Would provide family members of an individual who they fear is a danger to himself/herself/others new tools to prevent gun violence. (H.R. 2598) 
  • Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act – Would strengthen punishment and enforcement of firearms trafficking. (H.R. 810) 
  • Stop Online Ammunitions Sales Act of 2017 – Would require dealers to confirm the identity of individuals who purchase ammunition over the internet by verifying a photo I.D. (H.R. 2283) 

Improving the Mental Health System: We have failed to create a system where people who are mentally ill can receive the treatment they need. Over 60% of all gun-related deaths are suicides and mental illness is a significant risk factor for suicide. Many deaths could be prevented if we developed a mental health system that is more accessible and available. 

  • Veteran Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act – Would direct the VA to provide better mental health assessments, including screening for suicide. (H.R. 918) 

Authorizing and Increasing Research: Simply improving the ability of researchers and the federal government to study and share information about gun violence would allow us to fully understand the impact and implications of current policies. New approaches to reduce gun violence should be evidence-based; research that can be used to promote policies is the first step in achieving this goal.

  • Authorizing appropriations to the CDC to support research on firearms safety or gun violence prevention. (H.R. 1832) 
  • Gun Violence Research Act – Repeals the prohibition that prevents the Department of Health and Human Services from researching gun violence. (H.R. 1478) 
  • Establishing a Select Committee on Gun Violence Prevention (H.Res 367) 
  • Requiring the Speaker of the House, whenever a moment of silence related to a gun violence tragedy, to announce on the next legislative day the relevant standing committee to hold a hearing on the event. (H.Res 370) 

Controlling Access to the Most Dangerous Products: Certain types of guns are not safe in any public space. Common sense restrictions on the most dangerous weapons can reduce the carnage that results from their use. 

  • Ghost Guns are Guns Act – Would broaden the definition of "firearm" to include any combination of parts designed and intended to be used to convert a device into a firearm and from which a firearm may be readily assembled. (H.R. 1278)
  • Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act of 2017 – Would make it illegal to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive any firearm that is not detectable by walk-through metal detectors. (H.R. 2033)
  • Safer Neighborhoods Gun Buyback Act of 2017 - Would incentivize state and local governments, and gun dealers to conduct gun buyback programs. (H.R. 3613)
  • Buyback Our Safety Act – Would authorize a gun buyback grant program for state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. (H.R. 445)
  • Protecting Law Enforcement Armor (PLEA) Act – Would ban armor-piercing handguns. (H.R. 2089)
  • Assault Weapons Ban – Would prohibit the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of semiautomatic weapons and ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than ten rounds. (Introduction pending)
  • Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act - Would prohibit the possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device. (Introduction pending)

Increasing Product Safety: Firearms are specifically excluded from regulation under the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Act. As inherently dangerous products, guns should be tested and regulated to ensure consistency and safety for the consumer. Products intended to keep children safe from guns and to prevent accidents are available and their use should be promoted if not required. 

  • Firearm Risk Protection Act of 2017 – Would require gun purchasers to have liability insurance. (H.R. 1708) 
  • Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence – Would allow plaintiffs to discover and introduce gun trace data in court and allow victims of gun violence to pursue action against firearm manufacturers. (Introduction pending) 
  • Handgun Trigger Safety Act of 2017 – Would provide for the development and use of technology for personalized handguns, and to require that all handguns manufactured or sold in the U.S. incorporate such technology. (H.R. 2380) 

Empowering Healthcare Professionals: Doctors are under increasing scrutiny and some may face disciplinary action for discussing guns with patients. Doctors should not only be able to discuss all matters that affect their patient’s health - they should be encouraged to do so. 

  • No legislation should be passed to prohibit a health care provider from discussing guns or gun safety with a patient or reporting a patient's threat of violence.

Effectively Regulating Sellers: A small number of gun dealers provide a disproportionately large number of weapons to criminals. Congress should empower the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to take steps to ensure dealers are complying with federal law. 

  • Fire Sale Loophole Closing Act – Would prohibit a gun dealer whose license is revoked or denied renewal from converting the gun inventory into a private collection to be sold without the requirement of performing a background check on the purchaser. (Introduction pending) 
  • The Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2017 – Would require gun show operators to register, keep records, and submit to inspections. (H.R. 1612) 
  • Background Check Completion Act - Would eliminate the “Charleston Loophole” which allows sellers to transfer a firearm if the National Instant Criminal Background Check System has been unable to complete a background check within three business days. (H.R.3464) 
  • Gun Trafficking Prevention Act – Would strengthen penalties for straw purchasers and for organizers of trafficking networks. (H.R. 1475) 

Enforcing Existing Laws: Enforcing existing laws is a struggle with the gun lobby actively working to subvert good policies by attacking budgets and undermining their effectiveness. While enacting new policies will be necessary to create safer communities, enforcing existing laws is an important part of the solution. 

  • Unlawful Gun Buyer Alert Act – Requires notice to the local FBI field office and state/local law enforcement agencies when a prohibited purchaser buys a firearm. (Introduction pending) 
  • Expressing support for the goals and ideals of National Gun Violence Awareness Month. (H. Res. 361) 
  • Protecting Communities from Lost or Stolen Law Enforcement Weapons Act – Would offer grants to states to pass legislation requiring state and local law enforcement agencies to report lost or stolen guns to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms' National Tracing Center. (Introduction pending) 

Mitigating Loss of Life in Shootings: First responders such as police and fire departments, ambulances, and emergency rooms must be able to respond where tragedy strikes. Schools and public facilities

  • Police Training and Independent Review Act of 2017 - Would require as a condition of receipt of Byrne-JAG funding that enrollees at law enforcement academies receive sensitivity training on ethnic and racial bias, cultural diversity, and police interaction with the disabled, mentally ill, and recent immigrants; and require independent investigations and prosecutions of law enforcement officers in cases where one or more of the alleged offenses involves an officer’s deadly use of force. (H.R. 1870)
Issues: