Moran Submits Recommendations to Biden Gun Violence Task Force
Recommendations include NRA member-supported reforms, banning high-capacity magazines
Washington, DC – Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat and member of the House Democratic Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, today wrote a letter to Vice President Joe Biden in support of a comprehensive set of solutions to address gun violence in the U.S. In the letter, Moran also recommended several reforms to the Vice President’s Gun Violence Task Force, including a ban on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons; increased reporting requirements of mental health records to the NICS background check database; improvements to mental health systems; and five reforms supported by NRA members.
“Tragically, the 20 children and 6 adults who lost their lives in Newtown represent just a fraction of the gun deaths that afflict our nation. According to the Children’s Defense Fund, in 2008 and 2009, 5,740 children…were killed by guns,” Moran said. “As the task force readies recommendations for action, I encourage you to act boldly and present a set of comprehensive solutions to our nation’s gun violence epidemic.”
Moran also recommended five reforms polling has shown nearly two-thirds of NRA members support. These include requiring background checks on all gun purchases and gun shop employees; preventing individuals on the terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms; requiring the reporting of lost or stolen firearms; and establishing minimum standards for concealed carry licenses.
“As you finalize your plan to address gun violence in America, I strongly encourage you to put forward a broad array of proposals necessary to address our nation’s epidemic of gun violence,” Moran continued. “Only a comprehensive strategy is up to this monumental task.”
Full text of the letter below:
Dear Vice President Biden:
I write to you in support of your efforts to curb gun violence in the U.S. through your leadership of President Obama’s gun violence prevention task force. As the task force readies recommendations for action, I encourage you to act boldly and present a set of comprehensive solutions to our nation’s gun violence epidemic.
As you know, the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. is just the latest in our nation’s long history of violent, gun-related massacres perpetrated by deranged individuals. Because such young children and their teachers were involved, the massacre has caused deep reverberations in the public psyche, opening the potential for a real effort to address the causes of such frightening and tragic mass murders.
Yet, tragically, the 20 children and 6 adults who lost their lives in Newtown represent just a fraction of the gun deaths that afflict our nation. Each year, approximately 100,000 people in America are shot with a gun, and over 10,000 are murdered using a firearm. According to the Children’s Defense Fund, in 2008 and 2009, 5,740 children — “one child or teen every three hours, eight every day, 55 every week for two years” — were killed by guns. The firearm homicide rate in the U.S. is nearly 19 times higher than the combined rate of other populous high-income countries.
There are, however, clear steps we can take to address this problem. Topping the list should be a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines and the availability of military-style assault weapons, both of which serve no civilian purpose other than to inflict mass carnage. We also must improve our nation's mental health system and increase the reporting requirements of mental health records to the NICS background check database, building upon improvements made following the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007.
But there are also other needed reforms that must be included in a comprehensive solution. These are not radical ideas. Many, in fact, are supported by a significant strong majority of NRA members.
This past May, a survey conducted by a noted Republican pollster showed strong support, even among NRA members, for commonsense gun safety reforms. According to the poll, NRA members support:
- Requiring background checks for every gun purchase (74% NRA member support);
- Requiring background checks on gun shop employees (79% NRA member support);
- Prohibiting individuals on the terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms (71% NRA member support);
- Requiring gun owners to report to police when their guns are lost or stolen (64% NRA member supports); and
- Establishing minimum standards for concealed carry permits (63-75% NRA member support each standard)
These results are encouraging. They also highlight the vast schism between the NRA's leadership and the views of its members. Even as NRA leadership criticizes your forthcoming gun violence recommendations, please remember that the NRA is an organization out of step with its membership on many commonsense gun safety measures. While NRA leadership holds tight to its absolutist positions, the American public, including gun owners and rank-in-file NRA members, supports sensible actions to reduce gun violence in ways that do not undermine the 2nd Amendment.
As you finalize your plan to address gun violence in America, I strongly encourage you to put forward a broad array of proposals necessary to address our nation’s epidemic of gun violence. Only a comprehensive strategy is up to this monumental task. Rest assured many in Congress are eagerly awaiting your recommendations and are willing to fight hard for the enactment of commonsense measures to protect the American public from gun violence.
Thank you again for your attention to this mater and your long-standing leadership on this issue.
James P. Moran
To read the letter, please visit: http://moran.house.gov/sites/moran.house.gov/files/documents/Biden%20Gun%20Violence%20Letter%201-14-13.pdf
To read Moran’s legislation, “NRA Members’ Gun Safety Act,” please visit: http://moran.house.gov/press-release/moran-reintroduces-%E2%80%9Cnra-members%E2%80%99-gun-safety-act%E2%80%9D