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Daily Action: A Day of Remembrance -- and Action! -- on Gun Violence

Sen. Dianne Feinstein
DC: (202) 224-3841
LA: (310) 914-7300
Sen. Kamala Harris
DC: (202) 224-3553
LA:  (213) 894-5000
Rep. Julia Brownley: 
DC: (202) 225-5811
Thousand Oaks: (805) 379-1779
Rep. Ted Lieu:
DC: (202) 225-3976
LA: (323) 651-1040
Rep. Steve Knight:
DC: (202) 225-1956
Simi Valley: (805) 581-7130

Thursday, Dec. 14, is the National Day of Remembrance for Victims and Survivors of Gun Violence, and the anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, in 2012. As we prepare for this evening's Brady Campaign/Indivisible: Conejo candlelight vigil in Westlake Village, today is a good day to catch up on congressional action (and inaction) on gun violence prevention. It's also a good day to call our Members of Congress and remind them that while they move slowly (or not at all) on firearms legislation, more than 30,000 Americans each year die as a result of gun violence. Among the grim statistics cited in this collection of maps and charts:

  • The United States has 4.4 percent of the world's population, but half its guns.
  • More than 1,500 mass shootings (with 4 or more victims) have occurred since Sandy Hook.
  • States with higher rates of gun ownership have more gun deaths.
  • States with tigher gun-control laws have fewer gun deaths.

Concealed Carry Reciprocity. Senate leaders have indicated that the chamber will not take up consideration of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity bill that passed the House earlier this month. That bill passed along party lines, supported by Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA25) and opposed by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA33). Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA26) did not vote. The measure would have forced individual states to honor concealed-carry permits from other states, creating a situation in which the most indiscriminate permit laws became the de facto law of the land. However, the bill would have required a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate, and Democrats were expected to launch a filibuster that would have ended its chances.

Expanding background checks. Bills have been introduced in both the House (H.R. 4240) and Senate (S. 2009) to expand Brady background checks to virtually all gun sales, closing the "gun show loophole" and requiring checks to be completed before private sales. California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris have signed on as co-sponsors, as have Rep. Brownley and Rep. Lieu. However, at this point all the bills' sponsors are Democrats, which makes it a long shot that they will become law in the GOP Congress.

Fix NICs. The Senate has 28 co-sponsors for a bipartisan bill that would penalize government agencies for failing to contribute to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICs). The bill was introduced following the mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, TX, last month, whose perpetrator should have been prohibited from purchasing a gun after being court-martialed by the Air Force on domestic violence charges. (The Air Force had failed to record his conviction in the FBI database that feeds the background-check system.) Feinstein and Harris are co-sponsors of the bill. A similar "fix-NICs" provision was amended to the Concealed-Carry Reciprocity bill passed by the House last week.

Bump stocks. The October 1 shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 and injured 546 was committed using bump stocks, attachments which allow semiautomatic rifles to fire repeatedly like machine guns. Since then, bills to ban bump stocks have been introduced in both the House and Senate, but neither version of the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act has gained much traction, due to Republican opposition. An amendment to ban bump stocks was added to the House Concealed-Carry Reciprocity bill, but was later stricken before that bill's passage. Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee finally held a hearing on bump stocks, during which officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) testified that the agency has no power to regulate the attachments under current law.