Urge Your Members of Congress to Support Background Checks
Gun violence in America has reached epidemic proportions. The evening news is inundated with tragic stories of children, youth, and adults that have lost their lives to gun violence across our nation. Whether on the streets of Baltimore or in the privacy of their homes, gun violence has taken the lives of far too many children, youth, and adults in our cities.
Currently, felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill and even wanted terrorists – in most states can visit a gun show or a website today and buy weapons from unlicensed sellers, no questions asked. Legitimate gun stores already require background checks, which do not violate the Second Amendment. Every day, 282 Americans are shot with a gun – including 50 children. Countless lives could be saved if all gun sellers were required by law to conduct background checks on every person seeking to purchase a gun prior to sale.
In the week following the Newtown massacre, there were at least a dozen gun homicides in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis alone. In a period of highly publicized mass shootings, inner-city neighborhoods that are plagued by gun violence have continued to be neglected and ignored. According to the Centers for Disease Control, large metropolitan areas account for more than two-thirds of deaths by gun violence each year, with inner cities most affected.
The majority of the victims are young, ranging in age from their early teens to mid-20s, and are black. The leading cause of death among Black teens ages 15 to 19 in 2008 and 2009 was gun homicide. For White teens 15 to 19 it was motor vehicle accidents followed by gun homicide in 2008 and gun suicide in 2009. The most recent analysis of data from twenty-three (23) industrialized nations shows that eighty-seven (87) percent of the children under age fifteen (15) killed by guns in these nations lived in the United States.
With that said, Congress has no excuse for not acting. Please ask your members of Congress to support gun safety legislation that will save the lives of countless children, youth, and adults. In partnership with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, advocacy organizations are working to pass a comprehensive gun violence prevention package with a background check provision.
Help keep the pressure on our Senators to reconsider critical gun safety legislation. Recently, in the House of Representatives legislation was recently introduced to expand background checks.
The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 1565),
This piece of legislation introduced by Congressmen Peter King (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), mirrors the bipartisan Manchin/Toomey compromise background check measure that was narrowly defeated in the Senate last month. While the Senate bill fell five (5) votes short of passage last month due to a procedural hurdle, Senators promise to have another vote soon. With that said, if we hope to have gun safety legislation this year, it is time to work with our House of Representatives members.
Due to loopholes in current law, people are easily able to obtain firearms through private sales and transfers, even though they should be prohibited from doing so under federal law. Research indicates that in excess of six million guns are transferred each year through private transfer. When there is a sale of private guns or there are transfers of weapons, these transactions are not subject to background checks.
The King/Thompson bill would save countless lives each year by helping to keep guns out of the hands of the violent people. Currently, this important piece of legislation has over 160 co-sponsors. This potentially lifesaving legislation needs more support in Congress. With that said, we need to demand prompt action from Congress on the King/Thompson bill. Toward that goal, I am asking that you take at least one of the following action steps:
1. Call your Congress person.
1. Email your Congress person.
2. Post a message on your Facebook Page
4. Sign the Petition circulating on the Internet
For more information, fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates visit http://www.demandaction.org.
Source: NCADV Action Alert, May 17, 2013.