In the wake of the Chattanooga and other shootings, Maloney calls out gun lobby for shameful efforts to undermine existing gun control laws and block common sense reforms

Jul 21, 2015
Press Release
Calls for national action on gun safety

NEW YORK – Five people were murdered by a shooter in Chattanooga, TN, nine people were murdered in a church in Charleston, 10 people were killed and 55 wounded over July 4th weekend in Chicago.  The gun lobby works overtime to make sure guns are easily available and that existing laws are never enforced. 

A 2013 report found that 58 percent of gun dealers have not been inspected within the last five years. A plan to fix the background check system has received less than 5 percent of the funding Congress authorized since 2009. This year, ATF shelved an update to the ban on cop-killer bullets, because the NRA opposed it. Those are just a few of the ways existing gun safety laws are weakened by the gun lobby, according to a new fact sheet released by Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY). The Congresswoman says the gun lobby is actively working to undermine existing laws while claiming to do the opposite.

“Every time there is a mass shooting like the ones that just took place in Chattanooga or Charleston, the gun lobby says we need to enforce the gun laws we already have, but they don’t tell you about everything they’re doing to make sure that never happens,” said Maloney. “From encouraging their allies in Congress to underfund enforcement, to attaching policy riders on appropriations bills and protecting massive loopholes, it’s clear that the NRA actively lobbies against enforcing existing laws. We need more members of Congress to stand up to their hypocrisy, because guns will claim more lives if we continue to do nothing.”

Maloney called for full funding of the background check system, and reiterated her call for a Congressional investigation and hearing into how flaws in the system allowed Dylan Roof, who murdered 9 people in a Charleston Church, to acquire a firearm. The House boosted funding for background check improvements to $78 million this year, but that pales in comparison to the $187.5 million per year Congress authorized in a bill to improve record-keeping passed in 2007 in the wake of a tragic mass shooting at Virginia Tech. In total, Congress provided less than 5 percent of the funding authorized by that bill.

Maloney also said ATF needs more funding to increase inspections of gun dealers. The Brady Campaign has found that nearly 90 percent of gun crimes were committed with guns purchased at just 5 percent of gun dealers.

"Congress should stop doing the bidding of the corporate gun lobby and give the ATF the resources and tools needed to shut down these 'bad apple' gun dealers," said Brian Malte, Senior National Policy Director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.  

"The NRA has no rational argument against smart gun laws because it knows they save lives. Thanks to New York's smart gun laws, our gun death rate is the 3rd lowest in the nation and gun deaths have fallen 17% over the last four years whereas nationally they have risen by 6%. The NRA is interested in just one thing - selling more guns. It's way past time for Congress to step up and protect all Americans rather than continue to pander to the craven gun industry,” said Leah Barrett, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

“The NRA receives tens of millions of dollars from the gun industry to advance a single goal:  sell more guns.” said Kristen Rand, Legislative Director of the Violence Policy Center. “The NRA not only lobbies against new public safety legislation, but even undermines enforcement of gun violence prevention laws already on the books.  While America reels from its latest mass shooting, for the NRA and the gun industry it's business as usual."

Maloney has introduced 5 new gun safety measures, and sponsored countless others. The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act would boost penalties for straw purchasers and give prosecutors tools to go after trafficking rings that bring illegal guns to our cities. The Firearm Safety and Public Health Research Act would provide funding to research gun violence as a public health issue. The Gun Show Loophole Closing Act would subject all gun sales at gun shows to background checks. The Firearm Risk Protection Act would require liability insurance coverage for gun owners. The Handgun Trigger Safety Act would improve gun safety by ensuring that only authorized users would be able to operate handguns utilizing personalization (or “smart gun”) technology.

Maloney’s fact sheet on how the gun lobby undermines existing gun laws can be found here.