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Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 5552, the Firearms Excise Improvement Tax Act of 2010. I would like to thank Chairman Levin and Congressman Kind for their leadership in bringing this important bill to the floor.
H.R. 5552 will amend the Internal Revenue Code to require: (1) excise taxes on recreational equipment to be due and payable on the date for filing the return for such taxes (i.e., quarterly); and (2) the Secretary of the Treasury to assess and collect, in the same manner as delinquent taxes are assessed and collected, mandatory orders of restitution for victims of crime. The bill has the support of Members on both sides of the aisle. The funding will also create jobs for Americans across the country.
Mr. Speaker, it must be stated that in a time when firearms are being used to commit heinous crimes against individuals in this country, it is important that we remember to ensure that we use strict measures to ensure that we can track the owners of firearms and requiring such excise taxes is one way to do so.
In this Congress, I introduced H.R. 257, The Child Gun Safety and Gun Access Prevention Act of 2009--which would amend the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to: (1) raise the age of handgun eligibility to 21 (currently, 18); and (2) prohibit persons under age 21 from possessing semiautomatic assault weapons or large capacity ammunition feeding devices, with exceptions.
It would also increase penalties for: (1) a second or subsequent violation by a juvenile of Brady Act provisions or for a first violation committed after an adjudication of delinquency or after a state or federal conviction for an act that, if committed by an adult, would be a serious violent felony; and (2) transferring a handgun, ammunition, semiautomatic assault weapon, or large capacity ammunition feeding device to a person who is under age 21, knowing or having reasonable cause to know that such person intended to use it in the commission of a crime of violence.
The bill also would prohibit any licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer from transferring a firearm to any person (other than a licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer) unless the transferee is provided with a secure gun storage or safety device. Authorizes the Attorney General to suspend or revoke any firearms license, or to subject the licensee to a civil penalty of up to $10,000, if the licensee has knowingly violated this prohibition.
H.R. 257 would prohibit keeping a loaded firearm or an unloaded firearm and ammunition within any premises knowing or recklessly disregarding the risk that a child: (1) is capable of gaining access to it; and (2) will use the firearm to cause death or serious bodily injury. It would also require the parent or legal guardian of a child to ensure that a child attending a gun show is accompanied by an adult.
My bill would also authorize the Attorney General to provide grants to enable local law enforcement agencies to develop and sponsor gun safety classes for parents and children. The bill also expresses the sense of Congress that each school district should provide or participate in a firearms safety program for students.
Yesterday, in its second major ruling on gun rights in three years, the Supreme Court extended the federally protected right to keep and bear arms to all 50 states. We know that the decision will be hailed by gun rights advocates and comes over the opposition of gun control groups, the city of Chicago and four justices.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the five justice majority saying ``the right to keep and bear arms must be regarded as a substantive guarantee, not a prohibition that could be ignored so long as the States legislated in an evenhanded manner.''
The ruling builds upon the Court's 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller that invalidated the handgun ban in the nation's capital. Moreover, that decision held that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was a right the Founders specifically delegated to individuals. The justices affirmed that decision and extended its reach to the 50 states. Today's ruling also invalidates Chicago's handgun ban.
The irony is that there have been 209 homicides so far this year in 2010 in Chicago. We need to strike a reasonable balance between upholding our Second Amendment rights to bear arms, and at the same time ensure that we enact appropriate laws to address criminal behavior and to ensure the health and safety of Americans across this nation.
I hope that we can work towards a reasonable solution whereby gun owners are not deprived of their right to hunt, fish, and use their firearms in law-abiding manners, and also provide the most effective measures to control gun violence and limit injury and death to Americans as a result of unlawful firearm use.
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