Gun violence continues to be a major problem plaguing communities across the country. The massacres at Virginia Tech University, Fort Hood, Texas, Tucson, Arizona, Aurora, Colorado, and Newtown, Connecticut serve as reminders that we need to fight for commonsense policies to make Americans safer.
I’ve long supported sensible gun regulation. In the 113th Congress, I've introduced several key bills to crack down on gun violence by making gun trafficking illegal, allow federal public health agencies to conduct research into gun safety, and have co-sponsored legislation to require universal background checks, limit the number of rounds within magazine clips, and renew the expired assault weapons ban.
Make gun trafficking illegal
H.R. 452, the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013, which I introduced, is the first bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives during the 113th Congress to make firearms trafficking a federal crime and impose stronger penalties for “straw purchasers” who buy guns for convicted felons and others who are prohibited from buying guns on their own. This bill directly addresses concerns by law enforcement officials who testified before Congress that a dedicated firearms trafficking statute would help them combat the flow of thousands of firearms to violent criminals. We have made it too hard for law enforcement to stop guns from getting into the hands of criminals and too easy from criminals to get their hands on guns.
Allowing public health researchers to conduct firearm safety research
I have introduced H.R. 321, the Firearm Safety and Public Health Research Act, which will allow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct crucial scientific research into firearm safety. The United States averages 23 gun related deaths each day. It is a public health issue and public health agencies should have the ability to develop and pursue violence prevention and mental health research. Unfortunately, since 1996 agencies have been prohibited from conducting high-quality, peer-reviewed research into gun violence prevention. For over 16 years gun deaths have continued and we are unable to answer fundamental questions as to why. At the start of the 113th Congress, I introduced H.R. 321, the Firearm Safety and Public Health Research Act, which will allow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct crucial scientific research into firearm safety.
Universal background checks
Federal law prohibits felons, the mentally ill, and others from owning a firearm, yet events like the horrible Christmas Eve shooting in Webster, NY, where a convicted felon killed two firefighters and injured two others continue to occur. We need to have stronger background checks for those looking to possess these dangerous weapons. That is why I cosponsored H.R. 137, the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (NY-4), to fix the nation’s broken gun background check system by taking two critical steps. First, the bill would require that every gun buyer must pass a background check – no matter where they buy the gun and no matter whom they buy it from. Second, the bill would mandate states to send all necessary records on felons, drug abusers, the mentally ill, and other dangerous people to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
Limiting large capacity magazines
Large capacity ammunition magazines are designed to fire as many rounds of ammunition as possible, enabling a shooter to unload a mass numbers of bullets quickly and efficiently. These magazines have been used at nearly every shooting massacre we’ve seen. Without easy access to large capacity magazines it would be more difficult for shooters to use them in crimes, resulting in fewer shots fired and fewer innocent lives lost. That is why I cosponsored H.R. 138, the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, also introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (NY-4).
Renewing the assault weapons ban
Congress first passed an Assault Weapons Ban in 1994, when I was proud to be an original cosponsor and to see then-President Clinton sign the bill into law. But the ban was allowed to expire in 2004. We need to reestablish it to help prevent these weapons from falling into the hands of violent criminals, including gang members, drug dealers and terrorists. That’s why I am a cosponsor of H.R. 437, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, again sponsored by Rep. McCarthy. With the high number of massacres that we have witnessed over the years, there has been a common thread throughout; the weapon of choice has often been a semiautomatic assault weapon. We need to do what we can to keep the public safe. The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 would go a long way to ensuring that.
Require liability insurance for gun owners
For too long, gun victims and society at large have borne the brunt of the costs of gun violence. My “Firearm Risk Protection Act” (H.R. 1369) would change that by shifting some of that cost back onto those who own the weapons. There is a long history of requiring insurance for high-risk products-- and no one disputes that guns are dangerous. While many individual states are debating this issue now, it makes more sense for Congress to establish a national requirement to allow the insurance markets to begin to price the risks involved consistently nationwide. A market-based approach such as this for legally purchased weapons is a common-sense way to help reduce the scourge of gun violence.
My legislative history on gun safety
Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993
The assassination attempt that nearly took the lives of President Reagan and his press secretary Jim Brady could have been averted with a simple background check. The individual who carried out the attempt purchased a gun with false information and should never have been able to own a firearm. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act effectively stopped criminals from directly buying guns at licensed gun stores, by conducting thorough background checks. I was proud to have voted for this bill and make sure that our streets were safer by applying this common sense law.
Semiautomatic Assault Weapons Ban of 1994
Since its introduction in 1994, the Semiautomatic Assault Weapons Ban has played a major role in increasing public safety and preventing dangerous firearms from failing into hands of criminals. The bill is supported by law enforcement groups across the country and was signed into law by President Clinton the same day of its passage. I was proud to be a cosponsor of this bill and to have voted in its favor.
Closing the Gun Show Loophole
Criminals have discovered that at gun shows, where large numbers of private buyers and sellers come together in one place, no background check is required. The gun show loophole allows criminals to by firearms at gun shows in most states without undergoing a background check. I believe this dangerous loophole must be closed, so I cosponsored of Gun Show Loophole Closing Act in the 112th and 111th Congress, which would require criminal background checks on all firearms transactions occurring at gun shows.
Denying Firearms to Terrorists – No Fly, No Buy
As unbelievable as it seems, being on a terror watch list currently does not prohibit someone from buying firearms or explosives. That’s why I am a cosponsor of the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act (H.R.2159 in the 111th Congress), which would tighten the current law that allows individuals listed on the terrorist watch list to legally purchase firearms.
Self Financing Civilian Marksmanship Program Act
In 1996, I was able to pass legislation to eliminate federal funding for the Civilian Marksmanship Program, an antiquated program that was created in 1903 during the Spanish-American War to teach Americans how to shoot straight. In the 1990’s, while we were fighting very hard to get guns off the street, this program handed out 40 million rounds of free ammunition, sold surplus guns, and conducted an annual shooting match.
My bill, the Self Financing Civilian Marksmanship Program Act (H.R.3466, 104th Congress) eliminated taxpayer subsidies for recreational shooting programs, and prevented the transfer of federally owned weapons, ammunition, funds, and other property to a private Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety. It was included in FY96 Department of Defense Authorization Act, Public Law 104-106.
3/21/2013-H.R.1369, Firearm Risk Protection Act of 2013 [113th Congress]
02/04/13 - H.R. 452, The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013 [113th Congress]
01/18/13 - H.R. 321, The Firearm Safety and Public Health Research Act [113th Congress]
"The Rachel Maddow Show" Rachel Maddow speaks on Gun Trafficking Prevention Act
"Rep. Maloney on the Daily Rundown" Rep. Maloney appears on MSNBC's the Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd to discuss the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act
"Rep. Maloney on the Politics Nation" Rep. Maloney appears on MSNBC's Politics Nation to speak on the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act with Rev. Al Sharption.
"Rep. Maloney talks Gun Safety on MSNBC" Rep. Maloney sits down on MSNBC to talk gun safety with Thomas Roberts.
"Gun Trafficking Prevention Act Press Conference" Rep. Maloney appears with other members of Congress to introduce the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act.
"Rep. Maloney discusses Gun Safety on NY1" Rep. Maloney discusses the need for gun safety legislation on NY1's 'The Call'.
More on Gun Safety
My office received over 9,300 postcards standing against destructive gun violence and for sensible reforms like the bipartisan legislation I introduced last year to combat the flow of illegal guns to criminals. I’m inspired by the outpouring of support for the #NotOneMore effort from New York’s 12th District.