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Letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Gun Violence Prevention Bills

March 05, 2013

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association, we wish to offer our views ahead of Thursday’s planned mark-up of several bills aimed at preventing gun violence. We are pleased to see that the Committee is moving forward with legislation to help address the epidemic of gun violence and urge you to vote YES on each of the four bills to be considered. 

Specifically, we urge you to support the:

  • Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2013 (S. 54) by Chairman Leahy and Senators Collins (R-ME), Durbin (D-IL), Gillibrand (D-NY), and Kirk (R-IL), to combat straw purchasing and gun trafficking.
  • Protecting Responsible Gun Sellers Act of 2013 (S. 374) by Senator Schumer (D-NY), to require background checks for gun purchases, including those at gun shows.
  • Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 (S. 150) by Senator Feinstein (D-CA), to ban military-style assault weapons and magazine clips of more than 10 rounds.
  • School Safety Enhancements Act of 2013 (S. 146) by Senator Boxer (D-CA), to reauthorize and strengthen the Secure Our Schools program and allow for facility and equipment upgrades aimed at providing additional security. 

A new NEA member poll indicates overwhelming support for stronger gun violence prevention laws, including criminal background checks for gun purchases and closing the gun show loophole, and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips. We support a comprehensive approach to preventing gun violence that includes the commonsense bills you will consider this week, as well as expanded access to mental-health services, and enhancements to school safety through facility upgrades and additional supports and professional development for educators and school personnel. 

Since 1979, when data were first collected, guns have taken the lives of nearly 120,000 American children and teenagers. Enough is enough. It is long past time for Congress to take commonsense and widely supported steps to help reduce the epidemic of gun violence. 

Thank you for your leadership on this important issue. We look forward to working with you to take steps to prevent more senseless tragedies.  

Sincerely, 

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations