Resolution on Preventing Gun Violence
In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., CPC members are determined to establish common sense gun regulations that ensure our communities are safe.
“These simple fixes will mean a safer future for all Americans, and they’re a necessary and fitting tribute to the twenty children and six teachers who lost their lives in Friday’s massacre,” said CPC co-chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).
Progressive Caucus Resolution on Preventing Gun Violence
Expressing the sense of the Congressional Progressive Caucus that Congress must enact greater safety requirements on guns to prevent the death and injury caused by the use of firearms;
Whereas individuals with guns injure more than 100,000 people a year and kill more than 30,000 a year including through homicides, suicides, and accidental deaths; and whereas far more Americans have been killed with guns in the U.S. than have died in all our wars combined;
Whereas America has now suffered more than 60 shooting massacres over the past 30 years, including twelve in 2012 and the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which 20 first graders and six educators were shot down; and whereas America’s schools and colleges remain vulnerable without our focus on enhanced school safety.
Whereas there are minimal safety requirements on the type of weapons available for purchase by private individuals in America, including military-style assault weapons;
Whereas only federally licensed gun dealers are required by law to run background checks yet 40 percent of gun sales – six million guns a year – are sold on the secondary market through unlicensed dealers and are not subject to background checks, enabling the acquisition of guns by criminals, perpetrators of domestic violence, minors, substance abusers, and those with severe mental illnesses that are determined by a healthcare professional to be a danger to themselves or others;
Whereas persons on the U.S. government’s terrorist watch list are legally able to purchase guns through unlicensed dealers on the secondary market;
Whereas in 2011, 18 states seriously considered and two passed legislation to allow concealed weapons on school campuses in some regard; and whereas in Arizona and Wyoming people can now carry concealed weapons without any permit at all;
Whereas in 2011 the House of Representatives passed H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, which allow persons to carry concealed weapons across state lines, regardless of state law;
Whereas our country continues to severely underfund the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – resulting in an incomplete background database that hasn’t expanded to all fifty states and a severe lack of resources that prevent the Bureau from conducting yearly inspections, as mandated by federal law, of all federally licensed gun dealers.
Whereas law enforcement personnel are restricted from fully tracking gun purchase, use, and sale due to the presence of the Tiahrt Amendments, making it harder for law enforcement to aggressively pursue criminals who use illegal guns and track the movement of guns used in crimes.
Whereas the explosion of gun sales in America has come at a time of a nationwide decline in mental health services with $1.6 billion in state cuts from mental health programs between 2009 and 2011;
Whereas nearly two-thirds of Americans agree that we should ban the sale of assault weapons as well as high-capacity magazines or clips that can hold 10, 30, 50, or 100 bullets at a time;
Whereas the large majority of Americans support requiring all gun buyers to pass a criminal background check, no matter where they purchase the weapon or from whom they buy it;
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Congressional Progressive Caucus that, at a minimum, greater safety requirements must be implemented to prevent the violent use of guns in America by—
- Banning the sale of military-style assault weapons as well as high-capacity magazines or clips that can hold more than 10 bullets at a time;
- Requiring all gun buyers to pass a criminal background check, no matter how they purchase the weapon; and,
- Supporting the availability and funding of mental health and substance abuse treatment so all individuals who are in need of help have sufficient access to these services, and the support of enhanced mental health services for children.