RI’s Congressional Delegation to Call for Action to Prevent Gun Violence
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen James Langevin and David Cicilline on Friday will call for action to help reduce gun violence and prevent massacres like the mass-shootings at Aurora, Newtown, Oak Creek, Virginia Tech, and Tucson.
The Congressional delegation has called a press conference to discuss the need for stronger federal gun violence prevention and mental health laws, including reinstating the ban on military-type assault weapons; limiting access to high-capacity ammunition clips; and closing the federal loophole that allows criminals and the mentally ill to buy firearms at gun shows without the same type of background checks required when guns are purchased from a licensed dealer.
All four members of the delegation have also opposed efforts to cut federal funding for children’s mental health services and youth violence prevention.
From 1994 to 2004, several types of assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines were banned by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. In March of 2004, months before the ban was set to expire, Senator Reed managed floor action during the gun debate and helped lead a bipartisan coalition that voted 52-47 to renew the assault weapons ban, 53-46 to close the gun show loophole, and 70-27 to require gun locks.
At the time, Democrats were in the minority in the Senate, but were joined by several Republican senators in voting for the provisions, but then-President George W. Bush opposed the bill. Since then, there have been repeated attempts to renew the Federal Assault Weapons Ban and close the gun show loophole, but Congress has not been able to pass legislation through both chambers.
Senator Whitehouse is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will take the lead in crafting and approving any gun control legislation that comes before the U.S. Senate.
Langevin, a member of the House’s Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, has been a longtime supporter of an assault weapons ban and increased background checks. He is an original cosponsor of the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, which bans magazines that hold more than 10 bullets, and will be introducing legislation to strengthen the inspections process for gun dealers.
As Mayor of Providence, David N. Cicilline established the city’s first Gun Task Force and was a founding member of the national organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Today, Congressman Cicilline is the lead sponsor of the Fire Sale Loophole Act that would keep gun dealers whose licenses are revoked from converting their gun inventory into a personal collection, which can then be sold without conducting background checks on purchasers. He has also co-sponsored several additional measures to enhance gun safety protections and strengthen background check requirements, including the Fix Gun Checks Act, the Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act, and the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act.
Over the last two years, there have been a dozen mass shootings throughout the nation. Each year gun violence kills more than 30,000 Americans.