For Immediate Release
February 3, 2017
NEWTOWN ACTION ALLIANCE STRONGLY CONDEMNS HOUSE VOTE TO REPEAL ACTIONS TO STRENGTHEN BACKGROUND CHECKS ON GUN SALES
Newtown, CT– Newtown Action Alliance strongly condemns the House of Representatives’ passage of House Joint Resolution 40 (H.J.Res.40): Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, which prohibits the Social Security Administration (SSA) from reporting information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
In 2007, Congress passed the NICS Improvement Amendment Act directing SSA to identify and report individuals who are at risk to themselves or others to NICS.
On January 4, 2016, President Barack Obama passed a set of executive actions to reduce gun violence to make our communities safer. One of the goals of the executive actions was to increase mental health treatment and improve the reporting to the background check system-including “information from the Social Security Administration in the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm. Current law prohibits individuals from buying a gun if, because of a mental health issue, they are either a danger to themselves or others or are unable to manage their own affairs. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has indicated that it will begin the rulemaking process to ensure that appropriate information in its records is reported to NICS. The reporting that SSA, in consultation with the Department of Justice, is expected to require will cover appropriate records of the approximately 75,000 people each year who have a documented mental health issue, receive disability benefits, and are unable to manage those benefits because of their mental impairment, or who have been found by a state or federal court to be legally incompetent. The rulemaking will also provide a mechanism for people to seek relief from the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm for reasons related to mental health.”
Po Murray, Chairwoman of the Newtown Action Alliance stated, “This House vote is a brutal slap in the face for all families of victims and communities impacted by gun violence in our nation. We are outraged that the House voted to ban the SSA from improving the NICS to keep guns away from individuals who are danger to themselves or others. After the Sandy Hook tragedy, the House of Representatives did not vote on a single gun violence prevention bill to reduce gun violence in our nation. After a mentally ill gunman with one AR-15 brutally gunned down 20 innocent first graders and six educators in less than five minutes, we begged the House of Representative members to vote on the background check bill to reduce gun violence. They did not hear or act on our plea and 400,000 Americans have been killed or injured by guns since the Sandy Hook shooting.”
“The lack of congressional action on gun violence is a national disgrace. Over 90 Americans are killed daily and Americans are more likely to be killed by a toddler with a gun, by committing suicide with a gun or by other Americans with a gun than Muslim refugees and yet yesterday, the House moved warp speed to weaken our gun laws while staying silent on the Muslim Immigration Ban. This vote is nothing but a gift to the gun lobby and it is meant to bolster the gun industry profits. We strongly condemn any and all Congressional actions that will promote the gun lobby’s dangerous “guns everywhere” agenda .”
“The members of the House of Representative who voted to ban the SSA from reporting data to the NICS will be responsible for more blood on their hands. It is morally wrong to weaken our gun safety laws to make it easier for anyone with mental illness to purchase guns. Shame on Rep. Sam Johnson from Texas for introducing this resolution on January 30th and shame on the 235 representatives who voted to support this dangerous resolution on February 2nd.”
“We implore all Americans to join us in condemning the following House Representatives who are putting our lives at risk. We deserve to feel safe in all private and public spaces.
Hice, Jody B.
Rooney, Thomas J.
“Here in Newtown, we know firsthand that guns don’t make us safer. It’s clear that Americans who don’t want to become the next innocent victim of senseless and preventable gun violence must hold these representatives accountable for the bloodshed in America. We urge all voters to pay close attention and put Election Day, November 6, 2018 on their calendars. We have no choice but to vote for congressional representatives who will protect us from gun violence. We need our children to feel safe when they go to their schools, universities, parks, movies, malls, and all public and private spaces.”
“H.J.Res. 40 has been received by the Senate on February 2, 2017. We urge voters to call their Senators at 202-224-3121 to implore them to reject this dangerous resolution that will put more guns in the hands of individuals with mental illness”, Murray concluded.
The Newtown Action Alliance (www.newtownaction.org) is a grassroots organization formed after the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It works to make America’s children, families, and all citizens safer through legislative and cultural change that will reduce gun violence in our nation.