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Letter to Congress on the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013

May 01, 2013

Dear Representative:  

On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association, we urge you to support and join the 109 co-sponsors of the bipartisan Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 1565) by Representatives Peter King (R-NY), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), and Peter DeFazio (D-OR). 

This important legislation requires background checks for guns purchased at gun shows and online, and would require states and the federal government to send all necessary records on criminals and the violently mentally ill to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It is a common-sense measure that would expand on the current system and take a step toward preventing dangerous individuals from easily purchasing guns: 

  • Under current law, federally licensed dealers are required to perform criminal background checks of gun buyers, but there is a loophole for gun shows and other venues where unlicensed dealers operate. In most states, convicted felons, domestic violence abusers, and those who are dangerously mentally ill can walk into any gun show, flea market, or even log on to the Internet and buy weapons from unlicensed sellers, no questions asked.
  • Allowing dangerous people such as convicted felons and domestic abusers to buy guns from unlicensed sellers without a criminal background check threatens the safety of our families and communities. An estimated 40 percent of gun acquisitions—or more—occur in the secondary market, which means they happen without a background check at a federally licensed dealer. 

Much like the broad public support for comprehensive and enforceable background checks, 90 percent of the respondents to an NEA member poll supported comprehensive and enforceable background checks to prevent dangerous people from purchasing guns.  

Students cannot learn and educators cannot teach when threatened by physical violence or harassment. To help ensure a safe and secure learning environment, we urge you to support and co-sponsor Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 1565). 

Sincerely, 

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations