Kicking off the opening of the 113th Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Bobby L. Rush introduced H.R. 34, the Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2013, legislation aimed at establishing a nationwide system for prohibiting unlicensed gun-ownership and granting the U.S. Attorney General broad authority over the program.
"It was important to reintroduce 'Blair's Bill' on the first day in session to pioneer gun violence as the number one social injustice of our time," said Rush, who also marked the beginning of his 11th term in office. "As a legislative body we need to address the issue of gun violence head on in order to avert any more senseless mass killings and shooting deaths of our youth in cities across this country."
Rush first introduced this legislation in 2007 and subsequently re-introduced it in 2009 after Blair Holt, a Chicago Julian High School honor student, was gunned down while riding home from school on a crowded public transit bus. A teenager, seeking a rival gang member, boarded the bus and opened fire with a .40 caliber handgun. He missed his intended target, instead striking Blair and two other female classmates. Video footage of the assault shows that seconds before he was fatally hit in the abdomen, Blair had pushed the female friend next to him down into the seat and shielded her body with his own. In an instant, this brave young man, the son of a police officer and a firefighter, sacrificed his life to save another.
Upon enactment into law, "Blair's Bill" would: (1) protect the public against the unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with the unrecorded sale or transfer of qualifying firearms to criminals and youth; (2) ensure that owners of qualifying firearms are knowledgeable in the safe use, handling, and storage of those firearms; (3) restrict the availability of qualifying firearms to criminals, youth, and other persons prohibited by Federal law from receiving firearms (mentally unstable, fugitives, addicts, dishonorably discharged, those under restraining orders) (4) facilitate the tracing of qualifying firearms used in crime by Federal and State law enforcement agencies.
"Mayors and law enforcement officials across the country have been calling for this type of legislation for years and I hope that we will be successful in making Blair's Bill federal law" said Rush.
This bill will implement the same type of system that the U.S. automobile industry has in place for licensing drivers and registering cars. Automobile manufacturers stamp and cast identifying numbers on cars and their parts. The vehicle identification number has become referred to as the "VIN". The purpose was to give an accurate description of the vehicle when mass production numbers were starting to climb. This bill will create gun identification numbers "GINs", a uniform system to keep track of these weapons.
"Blair's Bill" will also assist law enforcement in tracking the flow of guns and require those who possess guns to be trained in gun safety, handling, and storage. While the gun lobby will attack this bill for restricting the availability of guns, Rush firmly believes that all Americans understand the need to implement a common sense federal law that will inform law enforcement of where the guns are and who possesses them.