Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) will be re-introducing legislation to ban the "Five-seveN" handgun when the House re-convenes next week. This handgun is a pistol capable of killing a police officer wearing a bullet-proof vest from over 200 meters away. He is also in favor of President Obama's detailed and comprehensive approach to curtailing gun violence.
"My friend, Gabby Giffords, returned to Washington today to speak in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on preventing gun violence. She struggled to speak for 90 seconds, but her mere presence speaksvolumes. Too many children are dying. They are dying in Newtown and every day in cities and towns across our country. The time for action was long ago, but at least we are finally talking about it now," said Rep. Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
In a recent op-ed in the New York Post, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that illegal handguns "remain the weapon of choice for killers and other criminals in New York City." He said 90 percent of illegal firearms seized last year were handguns, and 90 percent of the guns used in crimes originated outside of New York.
"We must tackle the many issues which factor into the dynamic which leads to a society where more children die of gun violence than soldiers in combat zones. Law enforcement has been often outgunned from the deadly weapons and ammunition which is easily obtained over the internet and due to oft-abused loopholes. One such mass shooting took place at Fort Hood -- targeting armed service members. The madman who attacked them did so with a Five-seveN handgun, and he murdered 13 people and wounded 30 others," said Rep. Engel.
Several types of ammunition for the Five-seveN have the ability to pierce law enforcement body armor. The Five-seveN handgun is one of the most popular with Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations who have nicknamed the gun the "mata policia" or "cop killer." Thelegislation, theProtect Law Enforcement Armor (PLEA) Act has been introduced into the House previously, but did not pass through Committee.
"In addition to banning this weapon, which is designed to kill, especially our brave police officers, we have other means to stop the violence. I again call for the President to reinstate the ban on imports of assault weapons, a ban enforced during the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. This is something he can do immediately by Executive Order, while Congress works on other measures to limit gun violence and increase measures to treat the mentally ill," said Rep. Engel.
Rep. Engel has repeatedly stated that he believes in restricting gun use through "smart gun" technology, extending waiting periods for gun buys, banning large ammunition clips, and allowing the victims of gun violence to sue firearm manufacturers and authorized sellers. He has called for strict background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows, where rules are lax and anyone can buy a gun.
The Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee continued, "I proudly wear the "F' grade I receive from the NRA whose craven opposition to every measure to stop the violence is maddening and offensive. No one involved in this discussion has called for any measures to take weapons away from the vast majority of gun owners. We want to take them away from those most likely to murder children and teachers in class, movie goers in a theater, shoppers in a shopping mall and people in their place of worship. We are also seeking to make our streets safer for our police and for our citizens on a day to day basis. It would be easier to have the NRA as a partner rather than as an adversary, but one way or another, we will not rest until we have results. You can have sensible gun control laws without infringing upon gun owners' rights."