Brady President Urges Changes In Gun Laws Post-Virginia Tech

U.S. Gun Violence Epidemic is 'our Daily Virginia Tech,' Paul Helmke Tells

National Press Club Audience



May 01, 2007, 01:00 ET from Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

    WASHINGTON, May 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the wake of the
 Virginia Tech massacre, the President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun
 Violence today announced a series of recommendations for changes in Federal
 gun laws that he said would strengthen the nation's safety net against some
 future mass shootings.
     Paul Helmke released the recommendations in a speech at the National
 Press Club. America's gun violence epidemic, Helmke said, "is our monthly
 9-11, our weekly Katrina, a continuing Iraq war on our streets and in our
 schools. It is our daily Virginia Tech. Yet we don't focus on this threat
 until we get a Virginia Tech.
     "To say that we are sorry that these shootings happened is not enough.
 We should be ashamed -- all of us should be ashamed that we have allowed
 this to happen," Helmke said.
     Helmke called for every state to quickly and thoroughly review all of
 its procedures for entering critical mental health and other pertinent
 records into the Federal National Instant Check System (NICS). And he said
 that Congress should pass, and the President should sign, legislation that
 will comprehensively and effectively apply Brady Law background checks to
 prevent dangerous people from buying guns; reduce civilian access to
 military weaponry that is neither for sport nor self-defense and limit the
 firepower available in the civilian market; and give police and federal law
 enforcement the tools and resources they need to fight gun crimes,
 including illegal gun trafficking and corrupt gun dealers.
     Thirty-two students and faculty were murdered in the Virginia Tech
 massacre on April 16. About 80 people die in the U.S. from gunfire every
 day, according to data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control,
 including about 32 who are homicide victims.
     Specific recommendations to Congress, and the text of Mr. Helmke's
 speech, are available online at http://www.bradycampaign.org. The
 recommendations include:
     -- Pass the NICS Improvement Act, introduced by Representative Carolyn
        McCarthy.  This legislation provides funding incentives for states to
        provide appropriate records to strengthen the information in NICS.
 
     -- Require background checks for all gun sales, not just those from
        federally licensed dealers.
 
     -- Rescind the requirement requiring that records of Brady background
        checks be destroyed within 24 hours of purchase approval.
 
     -- Impose a waiting period under the Brady Law, to allow time to do
        accurate and complete review of appropriate records.
 
     -- Reinstate the Federal ban on ammunition magazines of larger than 10
        rounds that expired along with the Federal assault weapons ban in 2004,
        and pass a ban on military-style assault weapons.
 
     -- Repeal the so-called "Tiahrt Amendment," which as an annual
        appropriations rider bars the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
        Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from sharing data on the sources of guns
        used in crimes.
 
     -- Require that new semi-automatic handguns be equipped with technology to
        allow police to quickly match shell casings found at a crime scene to
        the handgun from which they were fired.  This technology, known as
        "microstamping," would enhance law enforcement's ability to rapidly
        solve gun crimes.
     Brady Campaign staff will aggressively pursue Congressional action, he
 said. He pledged to hold the Democratic leaders of Congress, President Bush
 and candidates for President accountable for inaction.
     "We can't be a shining city on a hill when we're an armed camp," Helmke
 said Tuesday. "We want an America where children are free to go to school
 without fear of being shot, parents are free to go to work without fear of
 a shooting, and neighbors can stand on the sidewalk and talk without fear
 of a drive-by.
     "Too many of our neighbors are suffering that same pain experienced by
 the Virginia Tech victims and families every day -- 32 times a day," Helmke
 said. "What are we going to do about it?"
     As the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading
 the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign, working with its
 dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, is devoted to creating an
 America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at
 school, at work, and in our communities.
     Contact: Peter Hamm, 202-898-0792
 
 

SOURCE Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
    WASHINGTON, May 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the wake of the
 Virginia Tech massacre, the President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun
 Violence today announced a series of recommendations for changes in Federal
 gun laws that he said would strengthen the nation's safety net against some
 future mass shootings.
     Paul Helmke released the recommendations in a speech at the National
 Press Club. America's gun violence epidemic, Helmke said, "is our monthly
 9-11, our weekly Katrina, a continuing Iraq war on our streets and in our
 schools. It is our daily Virginia Tech. Yet we don't focus on this threat
 until we get a Virginia Tech.
     "To say that we are sorry that these shootings happened is not enough.
 We should be ashamed -- all of us should be ashamed that we have allowed
 this to happen," Helmke said.
     Helmke called for every state to quickly and thoroughly review all of
 its procedures for entering critical mental health and other pertinent
 records into the Federal National Instant Check System (NICS). And he said
 that Congress should pass, and the President should sign, legislation that
 will comprehensively and effectively apply Brady Law background checks to
 prevent dangerous people from buying guns; reduce civilian access to
 military weaponry that is neither for sport nor self-defense and limit the
 firepower available in the civilian market; and give police and federal law
 enforcement the tools and resources they need to fight gun crimes,
 including illegal gun trafficking and corrupt gun dealers.
     Thirty-two students and faculty were murdered in the Virginia Tech
 massacre on April 16. About 80 people die in the U.S. from gunfire every
 day, according to data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control,
 including about 32 who are homicide victims.
     Specific recommendations to Congress, and the text of Mr. Helmke's
 speech, are available online at http://www.bradycampaign.org. The
 recommendations include:
     -- Pass the NICS Improvement Act, introduced by Representative Carolyn
        McCarthy.  This legislation provides funding incentives for states to
        provide appropriate records to strengthen the information in NICS.
 
     -- Require background checks for all gun sales, not just those from
        federally licensed dealers.
 
     -- Rescind the requirement requiring that records of Brady background
        checks be destroyed within 24 hours of purchase approval.
 
     -- Impose a waiting period under the Brady Law, to allow time to do
        accurate and complete review of appropriate records.
 
     -- Reinstate the Federal ban on ammunition magazines of larger than 10
        rounds that expired along with the Federal assault weapons ban in 2004,
        and pass a ban on military-style assault weapons.
 
     -- Repeal the so-called "Tiahrt Amendment," which as an annual
        appropriations rider bars the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
        Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from sharing data on the sources of guns
        used in crimes.
 
     -- Require that new semi-automatic handguns be equipped with technology to
        allow police to quickly match shell casings found at a crime scene to
        the handgun from which they were fired.  This technology, known as
        "microstamping," would enhance law enforcement's ability to rapidly
        solve gun crimes.
     Brady Campaign staff will aggressively pursue Congressional action, he
 said. He pledged to hold the Democratic leaders of Congress, President Bush
 and candidates for President accountable for inaction.
     "We can't be a shining city on a hill when we're an armed camp," Helmke
 said Tuesday. "We want an America where children are free to go to school
 without fear of being shot, parents are free to go to work without fear of
 a shooting, and neighbors can stand on the sidewalk and talk without fear
 of a drive-by.
     "Too many of our neighbors are suffering that same pain experienced by
 the Virginia Tech victims and families every day -- 32 times a day," Helmke
 said. "What are we going to do about it?"
     As the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading
 the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign, working with its
 dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, is devoted to creating an
 America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at
 school, at work, and in our communities.
     Contact: Peter Hamm, 202-898-0792
 
 SOURCE Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence