As a mother of two young boys, Kirsten is doing everything she can to eliminate gun violence and keep our families and children safe. She is taking the lead in Congress to enact strong laws to reduce gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
Tougher Background Checks. As a member of the House, Kirsten was proud to vote in support of Representative Carolyn McCarthy's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Improvement Act. This legislation was the first major gun violence prevention to pass the House in more than 10 years. It authorized incentives to states to input records of people adjudicated as dangerously mentally ill and convicted felons.
Cracking Down on Illegal Gun Trafficking. In the Senate, Kirsten will continue to advocate common sense measures to combat gun violence. Most recently, she worked closely with New York law enforcement, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign and Representative Carolyn McCarthy to draft the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2009, which is the nation's first-ever comprehensive legislation to deal with illegal gun trafficking. Approximately 85 percent of the guns used in gun crimes in New York State come from out of state, and 90 percent of these guns are illegal.
In November 2009, Kirsten joined with Congresswoman McCarthy, Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as well as representatives from The Brady Campaign and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence to announce the legislation. You can view video of the event here. The bill will give federal law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on the trafficking of illegal guns and keep them out of the hands of criminals.
Stemming the Root Causes of Gun Violence. Kirsten has vowed to find innovative solutions to the root causes of many of these crimes through expanded after-school opportunities that give young students a positive alternative to gangs. In the Senate, she is working to increase funding for after-school programs and strategic partnerships with New York new York organizations and community based organizations for high school students.
Partnering With Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Kirsten stood with more than 20 other members of the New York Congressional delegation in support of law enforcement and public safety by sending a joint letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking President Barack Obama to remove the so-called Tiahrt Amendments from his executive budget. These restrictions block access to critical gun trace data and prevent ATF from requiring gun dealers to check their inventories, despite the fact that more than 30,000 guns went missing from just 10 percent of gun dealers in 2007.
Increased Funding for COPS. In both the House and Senate, Kirsten has advocated for increased funding for the successful COPS (Community Orientated Policing Services) program, which supports the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder and fear of crime.
On March 11, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Omnibus Appropriations Act 2009, which provides funding for the COPS Office this year. This funding is in addition to the $1 billion that was recently appropriated for the COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
It is true that Kirsten comes from a family of hunters and believes the Second Amendment protects the rights of responsible and eligible New Yorkers to own a gun. This is one of her core beliefs and will never change. However, ensuring hunters' rights has nothing to do with reducing gun violence and making sure we keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
Senator Gillibrand has taken the additional following actions to ensure law enforcement has the tools it needs to combat gun violence and that gun safety measures continue to be a priority. Gillibrand Is Urging Law Enforcement Agencies to Take Advantage of eTrace Firearm Tracing Program. Senator Gillibrand is urging law enforcement agencies to take advantage of eTrace, an internet-based illegal firearm tracing program that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) makes available free of charge to law enforcement agencies. Only a small number of New York law enforcement agencies are currently utilizing the eTrace system, and every jurisdiction could benefit from it to enhance public safety by targeting and apprehending violent criminals.
Gillibrand Voted to Keep Loaded Guns Out of National Parks. On May 12, Gillibrand voted against an amendment that would prevent the Department of Interior and National Park Service from enforcing national park firearm rules in favor of local gun laws, some of which are quite relaxed. President Obama has asked Sec. Salazar to examine rule change. Congress should not take action before the President reviews the rule change. Among the groups opposing the Amendment are: the National Parks Conservation Association; the U.S. Park Rangers Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police; the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees; the Association of National Park Rangers; and, The Wilderness Society. [Vote # 188, H.R. 627, S.AMdt. 1067, 5/12/09]
Gillibrand Voted Against Conceal Carry Reciprocity. On July 22, Senator Gillibrand voted against the Thune amendment which allows an individual who has a carry conceal permit issued by any State, or is a resident of any State that allows for concealed carry without a permit, to carry a concealed weapon in any other State that grants conceal carry permits. Pursuant to a unanimous consent agreement, 60 votes were required for adoption of the amendment. The amendment would have undercut a state's ability to decide who can legally carry a concealed weapon. Senator Gillibrand successfully urged her colleagues to oppose this harmful measure and side in favor of law enforcement and state's rights.
Gillibrand Voted Against Amendment to Strip DC's Gun-Control laws. On February 26, Senator Gillibrand voted against an amendment that went beyond what was called for in the D.C. v. Heller decision and repealed common sense gun regulations. This amendment was supported by the NRA, but opposed by Mayor Bloomberg. [Vote #72, S. 160 , S. Amdt. 575, 02/26/09]
Gillibrand Voted Against Motion That Would Limit Amtrak's Use of Funds Unless they Allowed Firearms in Checked Baggage. On April 2, Senator Gillibrand voted against a motion to waive section 305(b)(2) of the Budget Act to permit consideration of the Wicker amendment which limits Amtrak's ability to use reserve funds provided for investments in infrastructure, unless Amtrak reverses its current security policy and allows passengers to securely transport firearms in checked baggage.
[Roll Call Vote #146, April 2, 2009]