Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) praised President Obama's signing of a number of executive orders aimed at curbing gun violence and echoed his calls for Congress to act on "common sense" reforms that will help keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. Himes is a cosponsor of numerous gun violence prevention measures and urged House Leadership to take swift action on the pending legislation President Obama recommended.
"As we reflect on the loss of the innocent children and brave adults who were killed last month in Newtown, we must do everything in our power to help reduce the likelihood of similar tragedies," Himes said. "There is no reason a hunter, collector, or someone protecting their own family needs a military-style assault rifle or a gun that will shoot 30 bullets in succession. There is no excuse to wait any longer, and I urge House leaders to put aside partisan politics and do what's right to make our nation safer."
The President's plan includes legislative and executive action that combined would:
Close background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands;
Ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and take other common-sense steps to reduce gun violence;
Make schools safer; and
Increase access to mental health services.
The President signed 23 executive orders, which will, among other things: strengthen the background check system; ensure mental health professionals know their options for reporting threats of violence; help police departments hire school resource officers; and help schools develop emergency preparedness plans.
But legislative action is also necessary to make a real and lasting difference. Himes echoed the President's call for Congress to pass legislation to reduce gun violence. Recommendations include laws to:
Eliminate loopholes and require a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun;
Reinstate a ban on military-style assault weapons;
Restoring a 10-round limit for magazines;
Create serious punishments for gun trafficking;
Provide funding for more police officers and school counselors; and
Confirm a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Himes shares these priorities and has cosponsored legislation to enact these provisions.