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Rangel Fights to Enforce Existing Gun Laws

Apr 25, 2013 Issues: Justice

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, Congressman Charles B. Rangel introduced H.R. 1728 - Enforce Existing Gun Laws Act, which will provide the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) the resources and authority necessary to effectively enforce America's current gun laws.  Rangel's bill supplements ongoing efforts in Congress to help reduce gun violence in America.

"The United States has more guns per capita than any country in the world and more gun-related crimes than any other developed nation," said Rangel. "If Congress wants to get serious about reducing gun violence in America, we need to start by enforcing existing gun laws so that criminals and the mentally ill cannot get their hands on dangerous firearms."

Rangel's legislation will repeal a series of appropriations riders that place significant limitations on ATF's basic investigative capabilities. These riders prohibit the consolidation and centralization of gun dealer records, prohibit the requirement that gun dealers conduct annual inventory, prohibit the use of instant background check records beyond 24 hours of their collection, and prohibit the use of firearms trace data to draw broad conclusions about firearms-related crime.

"The NRA and its allies in Congress have worked behind the scenes over the years to demonize, defund, and destabilize the law enforcement agency responsible for enforcing America's gun laws," said Rangel.  "We need to empower the ATF so they can identify and prosecute unlawful gun dealers and traffickers that fuel the epidemic of gun violence in this country."

The ATF employs approximately 2,500 special agents and 800 inspectors who are responsible for regulating a market of over 300 million guns and more than 100,000 dealers.  At their current capacity, the ATF is only able to inspect each licensed firearms dealer once every ten years. The appropriations riders further limit the ability of the ATF to identify, investigate, and prosecute illegal firearms transactions.