Keeping more firearms away from unauthorized users would prevent many cases of gun violence with no threat to the 2nd Amendment Rights of law-abiding citizens, and that could be rapidly achieved through bi-partisan legislation introduced today in the House by Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Carter (R-TX31) and fellow Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Member Henry Cuellar (D-TX28).
"The most common factor in the mass shootings over the past years is that people who should not have had access to firearms managed to acquire them anyway," said Carter, a former Texas district judge. "We don't attempt to address all the reasons for that in this bill, but specifically target better security of firearms by law-abiding citizens through incentives, not mandates."
"While nationally there has been much discussion over how to prevent mass shootings, there is no debate over the need to promote responsible firearm ownership," said Cuellar. "As a concealed handgun license holder and strong supporter of 2nd amendment rights, this is a common sense first step towards increasing access for Americans to purchase devices that will prevent the misuse of firearms. While this legislation is not meant to be a "fix-all', this is a bipartisan idea that Congress should immediately act on. I'm proud to join my fellow Texan and friend, Chairman Carter on this important legislation."
Mass shootings at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, and Newtown all involved people who should not have had access to firearms. The most recent Newtown tragedy revealed the shooter's mother passed the federal background check, legally acquired weapons, and bought a safe, but apparently left the safe unlocked and the weapons exposed to her mentally unstable son.
"As responsible gun owners, let's make sure our weapons are more secure in the future," says Carter. "We can use this legislation to kick off a nationwide push to put gun safes or security devices in every home with unattended firearms by the close of 2014, and then let's push for everyone to use them," Carter says. "That's a specific goal that will reduce gun violence by a date certain, and a goal that Congress, the President, and the firearms community can unite behind."
The Secure Firearms Act includes:
Up to a $1,200 tax deduction to purchase a gun safe and/or security devices through December 31, 2014.
A prohibition on the IRS use of tax deduction claims to produce any form of gun owner registration.
The White House officially called for improving safe gun storage on January 16, as part of President Obama's initiative to reduce gun violence, writing "The President believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms . .But this right comes with a responsibility to safely store guns to prevent them from accidentally or intentionally being used to harm others. To that end, the President will launch a national responsible gun ownership campaign."
In addition to the President's call for safe gun storage, the Secure Firearms Act is endorsed by the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of American, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
"The NRA is the national leader in teaching firearms safety, and we support the Secure Firearms Act of 2013 which encourages the safe storage of firearms in the home," said James Baker, director of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action Federal Affair Division. "Rep. John Carter is a leader on this issue, and we look forward to working with Members of Congress to pass this sensible legislation and provide a much-deserved tax credit to responsible firearm owners."
"This proposal encourages improved firearms storage security with no threat to the right to keep and bear arms," said Gun Owners of America President Larry Pratt. "The bill provides a solid benefit to law-abiding gun owners nationwide, and will increase public safety in the process. We need more well-conceived bipartisan legislation like this in Congress."
"Members of America's firearms industry thank Rep. Carter for his leadership in offering a real, bi-partisan solution that will help to make our families safer by helping gun owners to responsibly and safely store their firearms when not in use so that they are inaccessible to unauthorized and at-risk individuals," said Lawrence G. Keane, National Shooting Sports Foundation senior vice president and general counsel.
"The issue of firearms is emotionally-charged, over which it is sometimes difficult to find common ground for many Americans," says Carter. "But this is one bill that will reduce illegal firearms use, is constitutionally-sound, paid for with appropriate corresponding budget cuts, and should be supported by all sides on this debate. I encourage the President to immediately endorse this legislation, and for our House and Senate leaders to rapidly move this bill to his desk. If we succeed, we will show the American people we can work together on tough issues to do what is right for the country."