Reps. Maloney, Velázquez, Nadler, Jeffries, New York City electeds, LGBT leaders, and Gun Safety Advocates Join Together to Call on Congress to Pass Gun Safety Reforms

Jun 17, 2016
Press Release

NEW YORK—Today, Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, gathered with city leaders, members of the LGBT community, and gun safety advocates to demand Congressional action on gun safety reforms and remember the 49 people who were murdered and 53 wounded at the attack in Orlando. The attack, by a gunman using a semi-automatic assault weapon to murder members of the LGBT community, was the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

The members of Congress were joined by Public Advocate Letitia James, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, Manhattan District Attorney and co-founder of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence Cyrus Vance, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, City Council Member Stephen Levin, City Council Member Margaret Chin, City Council Member Costa Constantinides, City Council Member Ben Kallos, President of Lesbian & Gay Democratic Club of Queens Michael Mallon, Secretary of Stonewall Democratic Club Bryan Ellicott, members of the LGBT community, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Leah Gunn Barrett, Regional Organizing Manager for Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Kim Russell, Donna Dees from the Million Moms March, and Monica Atiya from Organizing for Action—New York. The group called on Congress to enact common sense gun safety reforms including: renewing the Assault Weapons Ban (H.R. 4269), prohibiting people on the terrorist watch list and those convicted of hate crimes from buying a gun (H.R.1076 and H.R. 4603), lifting the prohibition on federal public health research on gun violence (H.R. 2612), and requiring universal background checks for all gun sales (H.R. 1217).

“Gun violence is an epidemic in our country,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “We just had the deadliest mass shooting in American history in Orlando when a man full of hate murdered 49 people because of their sexual orientation. That was on top of another 6,000 people who have been murdered by guns this year. This country needs to wake up and pass meaningful gun safety reforms like renewing the assault weapons ban and keeping guns out of the hands of people on the terrorist watch list or those convicted of hate crimes. The fact that Republicans in Congress have blocked us from even having a vote on these bills is a disgrace. These reforms won’t infringe upon the Second Amendment – hunters don’t need assault rifles – but they will save lives.”

“All of us mourn the loss of life in Orlando, but thoughts, prayers, and moments of silence are no longer sufficient,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez. “Enough is enough. There are a range of policy options Congress could adopt that would make a difference. Restoring an assault rifle ban and preventing those on the FBI Terror Watch list from purchasing guns are commonsense first steps. If House Republicans fail to act on ideas like these, they are abdicating their fundamental responsibility to keep the American people safe.”

"Every member of Congress should be supporting common sense gun control legislation," said Congressman Jerry Nadler. "Those who aren't must answer to their constituents, to their country and to the countless victims and their families who have suffered so much heartbreak due to gun violence.  This Congress has done nothing except hold repeated moments of silence.  This silence, combined with our inaction, makes hypocrites of us all.  The American people are baffled by our silence. They demand more. They demand action."

"The mass shooting in Orlando constituted a shocking act of terror and a vicious hate crime directed at the LGBT community,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.  In times like these, the American people deserve real congressional leadership.  Instead, House Republicans left town without doing anything to address this country's gun violence epidemic.  It's time for Congress to act.  We can start by passing comprehensive background check legislation and prohibiting suspected terrorists on the no fly list from being able to purchase guns."  

“It is past time that Congress take real action to stop the gun epidemic that is ripping our country apart,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “Banning the sale of military-style assault rifles, preventing suspected terrorists from purchasing guns and requiring background checks for all purchases are all common sense laws that would keep deadly weapons out of bad actors’ hands and save lives. Let’s put the safety of our children and families ahead of the NRA.”

“New York City is still coming to terms with the enormity of last Sunday’s attack in Orlando, but we also need to recognize that gun violence has become the new normal in American society,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “We cannot raise our children to accept this nightmare of senseless death and destruction as reality. Instead, we need to turn our anger into action, and make sure the House of Representatives passes Congresswoman Maloney’s common sense gun legislation, including the Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the Assault Weapons Ban, to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. From the floor of Congress to the streets of New York City, we have to come together now to get this done."

“As we mourn the lives lost in this weekend’s unconscionable attack, we know that sentiments are not enough – we must take action,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. “I commend Congresswoman Maloney for championing common-sense legislative solutions to this national crisis, and urge our federal government to move quickly to enact these pragmatic public safety measures. At the local level, we are taking a comprehensive approach to combatting gun violence by prosecuting rings who traffic illegal weapons into our City and sponsoring initiatives like tomorrow’s gun buyback event with the NYPD at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.”

“As the Brooklyn District Attorney, my office sees firsthand the carnage caused by senseless gun violence in our local communities, and every year in America more than 30,000 people are killed by firearms,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson. “These deaths can be prevented with smart and effective federal gun safety laws like those proposed by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. Local prosecutors work tirelessly to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of criminals, but we need our federal government to do their part and stand strong in the fight to combat gun violence.”

“Something must be done to stem the bloodshed that is occurring in horrific mass shootings, as well as on the streets of our cities every day,” said Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark. “On the same night that the gunman killed 43 people in an attack on the LGBT community in Florida, three people were fatally shot in the Bronx. We will honor the Orlando victims by demanding and enacting common sense reform of gun laws.”

"Since the Pulse Night Club Shooting in Orlando that killed 49 LGBT & Latino people and injured many others, we have witnessed the work that still needs to be done not only for the LGBTQ community,” said Secretary Stonewall Democrats of New York City Bryan J. Ellicott. “We also need to figure out how deal with the continuing problem of gun violence in this country. We need 100% full equality under the law for all members of the LGBTQ community. Especially those who are transgender and gender non-conforming. We need gun control laws that will keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to do harm to ALL communities especially because of who you are or who you love. We need to join together as a community of human beings and stop pointing figures and come up with the solution so this stops happening.”

"I join the thousands of LGBT voices around the nation in calling for an end to gun violence in the United States," said Michael Mallon, president of the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens.  "The passage of common sense gun control laws is an LGBT rights issue.  We have the right to live and celebrate LGBT Pride free from fear of attack and death.  It is inexcusable that Congressional Republicans have continued to block measures that would ban military assault weapons, including the one used to kill nearly 50 people in Orlando on June 12th.  I thank Congresswoman Maloney for her leadership on this issue and look forward to working with her to remove weapons of war from our streets."

"Too many lives have already been lost,” said Jackie Rowe-Adams of Harlem Mothers SAVE. “We need to get ourselves together to support sensible gun legislations and leaders such as Congresswoman Maloney."

"As was true in Orlando last weekend, hate was armed that day,” said President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Dan Gross. “A lax law allowed a young man, filled with hate and intent on violence, to get his hands on a gun. But we can disarm hate by rejecting it from our communities and starving those intent on violence of the weapons they seek to acquire. The victims of Umpqua, San Bernardino, Kalamazoo, Heston, Orlando, and all of the 33,000 Americans who have lost their lives to a gun in the year since Charleston are each a reminder of the mandate our elected leaders have to protect innocent life. Next Monday, every single member of the United States Senate will have their own opportunity to tell the American people whether they want to disarm hate, or enable the violence it breeds. We'll be watching."

"After Sandy Hook, Congress said NO to any reasonable restrictions on guns,” said Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Leah Gunn Barrett. “So we worked at the state level and NY was the first to take action by passing the NY SAFE Act. We need to keep up the pressure on the state but also go back to Congress and demand that our feckless leaders do what we've done in New York: restrict military style assault weapons and limit high capacity ammunition magazines, pass criminal background checks on all gun sales and prohibit those on the Terrorist Watch List from buying guns. Mass shootings grab our attention as they should. But we must not forget that today another 92 Americans will die from guns and tomorrow will be the same unless we do something."

"The continuing failure to enact smart and effective gun regulation is the continuing shame of this country, and innocent people in communities across America are paying the price," said Council Member Dan Garodnick. "The most recent mass shooting in Orlando reminds us that we must do more and do it quickly. I applaud Congresswoman Maloney for her consistent leadership and for the tough legislation she has sponsored to bring an end to gun violence."

“As the overwhelming scale of this heinous act in Orlando continues to sink in, we must not waver in our efforts for common sense gun safety reform in Congress,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “I join Congresswoman Maloney, LGBT community leaders and gun violence prevention advocates in denouncing the hate that led to the murder of 49 people, as well as the assault rifle that caused those deaths – not just in Orlando, but in Newtown, Aurora, and San Bernardino. I call on Congress to join us in saying, ‘Enough is enough,’ and pass bills to prohibit terrorist suspects and those convicted of hate crimes from buying a gun, to make background checks universal for all gun sales, and to renew the ban on assault weapons.”

"We are all saddened by the horrific acts in Orlando this past weekend,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “We stand in solidarity with the LGBT community against this senseless act of violence and terror. This heinous crime shows that we must enact comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation on a national level. We've stood again and again calling for what is such a common sense solution.  Gun deaths happen across the nation every day.  Let’s help prevent the hundreds of shootings and gun deaths that happen every day throughout the nation.  I join Congress Member Carolyn Maloney in her call to action today."

"Enough is enough," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "After yet another mass shooting, this one the deadliest in U.S. history, now must be the time when the whole country must have the courage to take action to implement gun safety reforms, starting with closing background check loopholes. I thank Congress Member Maloney for being a strong voice in Washington D.C. and a relentless advocate for solutions to our gun epidemic."

“As our nation mourns the lives lost during yet another brutal, senseless act of violence, we stand united with the people of Orlando and the members of our LGBT community to denounce hate, any attempt to instill fear within our communities, and efforts to undermine the values we hold dear as Americans,” said Congressman Joe Crowley. “But we can also come together to see what steps we can take to help prevent tragedies like this in the future. Gun violence continues to take an incredible toll on our society and we owe to the victims in Orlando and all over the country, to act swiftly and figure out how we can keep dangerous weapons of war off of our streets and from falling into the wrong hands."

"I am sickened by how common these attacks have become," said State Senator Mike Gianaris. "The unspeakable tragedy in Orlando, now confirmed as the worst shooting in American history, was monstrous and inhumane. My thoughts are with those affected by this horrific act and the LGBT community that was targeted."

“I thank Congresswoman Maloney for taking a stand and being a leader in the fight to end gun violence in America,” said Assemblymember Aravella Simotas. “Our hearts are breaking for the victims of the Orlando massacre and for their devastated families and friends.  But everyone knows that our heartbreak and grief won’t stop the next madman armed with an assault rifle. We need an outright, nationwide ban on the sale of assault rifles to civilians, no exceptions, no loopholes. It’s long past time for the U.S. Congress to act.  The self-serving cowardice of those members of the U.S. Congress who stand in the way of meaningful laws to stop mass shootings is reprehensible.  Assault rifles do not belong in the hands of civilians.  Our nation is a beautiful amalgam of people from all backgrounds, orientations and many faiths. We all share in the blessing that is freedom. We all have the right to live unafraid of being slaughtered by assault weapons because of who we are or where we happen to be at any particular moment."

BACKGROUND

Congresswoman Maloney has long supported sensible gun regulation, starting with support of The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, named for President Reagan’s press secretary, Jim Brady, who suffered grievous injuries in the assassination attempt on the President. That law provides for background checks for most handgun purchases, and has stopped thousands of dangerous individuals from buying firearms.

Since that historic act, Congresswoman Maloney has pushed several key bills to crack down on gun violence by making gun trafficking illegal, allowing federal public health agencies to conduct research into gun safety, close the gun show loophole, and support innovative “smart gun” technology. She has also cosponsored legislation to require universal background checks, limit the number of rounds within magazine clips, and renew the expired assault weapons ban.

H.R. 4269: Assault Weapons Ban

For 10 years, the U.S. banned the use of semiautomatic assault weapons, but this law expired in 2004. Now more than ever, we need to make sure that these weapons of war are not on our streets and our communities.

This bill would ban the sale or possession of semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines, like those used in tragic mass shootings in Orlando and Newtown, Connecticut.

H.R. 1076: Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act

Under current law, over 2,000 terror suspects have purchased guns in the past ten years. This bipartisan bill would close the “terror gap” and prohibit those on the FBI terrorism watch list from purchasing guns and explosives.

H.R. 4603: Hate Crimes Prevention Act

Under existing law, those convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes may still purchase firearms, even though we know they pose a danger to our society. This legislation would ensure that those convicted of misdemeanor assault against a victim based on their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability cannot purchase dangerous weapons. The law already restricts gun purchases for those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, and this legislation takes a common-sense step to prevent violent hate crimes.

H.R. 2612: Lifting the ban on public health research (Maloney Lead House Sponsor)

On average, 32,000 deaths and 76,000 injuries are attributed to guns each year, yet since the 1990s political pressure has frozen public health research on this national epidemic.  Even the author of the original ban, former Rep. Jay Dickey, regrets the outcome and President Obama’s administration has laid out a research plan.

Maloney’s bill would devote $10 million each year to CDC research on gun violence, to better understand this epidemic and determine the best policies to keep our communities safe.

H.R. 1217: Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act

This bill is a comprehensive, bipartisan proposal to close the gaps and loopholes in the Brady Bill, including requiring background checks for all gun sales. In addition, this bill would establish the National Commission on Mass Violence, to examine mass shootings and other incidents to determine their root causes and risk factors.

 

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