Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) today demanded that House Republicans bring President Obama's gun control reform package to a vote immediately after Congress reconvenes following the president's inauguration. In addition to calling for a vote on high-capacity magazines, an assault weapons ban, and the rest of the president's package, Rep. Markey announced today that he will be introducing a bill to codify and expand one of President Obama's executive orders to end the ban on federal gun violence research.
"The President has offered a comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence, and it deserves an immediate vote in Congress. We can't wait another day or for another tragedy to occur before we act," said Rep. Markey. "If we want an incident like Newtown to never again befall our kids and our country, then we need an effort like never before to act against the scourge of gun violence in America."
To protect and expand one of the executive orders announced today by President Obama, Rep. Markey, along with Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), will on Friday introduce the Firearm Safety and Public Health Research Act, which would lift the current prohibitions on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) from conducting research into firearms safety and gun violence prevention. President Obama's executive order only applies to the CDC. The legislation will release all federal research agencies, including the NIH, from the restrictions placed on them in 1996 that have prohibited these agencies from conducting high-quality, peer-reviewed research into gun violence prevention.
John Rosenthal, co-founder of Stop Handgun Violence and Common Sense About Kids and Guns and prominent gun control advocate, praised Congressman Markey's leadership in the effort to reform our gun laws and called for passage of the Firearm Safety and Public Health Research Act. "Congressman Markey is exactly right. Congress needs to act immediately and bring these proposals to a vote as soon as possible. All of the proposals that the President and Congressman Markey are championing would go a long way to keeping our children and our neighborhood safe. The CDC did its job reporting on firearm-related injuries and death. The results were clear: states with tough gun laws had lower gun fatality rates than those with lax gun laws. Information is our friend in reducing the public health epidemic of gun violence, and rather than killing the messenger, Congress should embrace the facts about gun violence and how to stop it. I thank Congressman Markey for his leadership on this issue and call on Congress to pass this critical legislation," Rosenthal said.
Rep. Markey included this legislation as part of his recommendations sent to Vice President Joe Biden's gun control task force last week. In that set of recommendations, which can be found HERE, Rep. Markey also called for a ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and universal background checks, among other recommendations that were included today in the president's proposals.
Rep. Markey has a long history fighting military-style guns from entering our communities. In 1994, Rep. Markey urged President Bill Clinton to place an emergency moratorium on the importation of military style assault weapons from China, including the AK-47 and Uzi. At the time, it was estimated that between 425,000 and two million modified rifles had been imported into the United States since 1991, selling for less than $130 per gun. President Clinton imposed the ban through the issuance of an executive order.