Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today joined the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force in releasing a comprehensive set of policy principles designed to reduce gun violence while respecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. The principles adopted reflect recommendations Himes submitted to the Task Force last month.
"Nearly two months after the tragedy in Newtown, I am displeased by the lack of congressional action but remain committed to doing everything I can to prevent another mass shooting," said Himes. "These principles strike an ideal balance between respecting the rights of gun owners and protecting our communities. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to see these policies passed into law."
For nearly two months, the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force has met with people on both sides of the aisle and all sides of the issue to develop a comprehensive set of policy principles that respect the Second Amendment and will make schools, neighborhoods, and communities safer.
The Task Force met with and solicited input from victims of gun violence and gun safety advocates; gun owners, hunters, and outdoor sportsmen; federal, state, and local law enforcement; educators and community workers; mental health experts and physicians; representatives of the motion picture, television, music, and video game industries; leaders in our faith communities; and representatives of gun manufacturers and retailers, as well as cabinet secretaries and the Vice President of the United States. The Task Force also met with Members of Congress from all sides of the issue, and held hearings in Washington, DC to consider ways to address this issue.
Himes' recommendations adopted by the Task Force include:
Reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons and assault magazines;
Requiring a background check for every gun sale;
Strengthening the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database;
Cracking down on illegal gun trafficking and straw-purchasing; and
Closing holes in our mental-health system and making sure care is available for those who need it.
Additionally, the Task Force urges Congress to:
Support the right of citizens to possess firearms for hunting, shooting sports, defense, and other lawful purposes;
Prosecute prohibited buyers who attempt to purchase firearms in violation of federal law;
Restore funding for public safety and law enforcement initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence;
Help communities get unwanted and illegal guns out of the hands of those who don't want them or shouldn't have them;
Support safety training and research and promote responsible gun ownership;
Help schools develop and implement safe learning environments and emergency response plans; and
Fund scientific research on the relationship between popular culture and gun violence.