July 27, 2017 — Today, Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, issued the below statement following the the Senate Appropriations Committee’s markup of the FY18 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.The bill includes $73 million for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is consistent with the FY17 level, and $1.27 Billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which is $35 million above the FY17 enacted level. The Senate bill does not contain any new harmful gun law “riders” that will hinder the enforcement of existing laws. However, the House version of the bill includes a rider that would hinder ATF’s ability to identify potential gun traffickers. At the urging of Senator Durbin (D-IL), the Committee report also acknowledged the importance of juvenile violence prevention programs that help to break the cycle of violence.
Robin Lloyd, Director of Government Affairs, Americans for Responsible Solutions:
“The bill passed today by the Senate Appropriations Committee demonstrates a clear bipartisan commitment to funding our nation’s background check system, as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In order to make sure guns stay out of the hands of dangerous individuals and make our communities safer, both chambers must continue to support the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and encourage states to help submit more records into the system.
“We’re also pleased to see that unlike the House appropriations bill, the Senate’s bill does not contain any new gun riders that make it harder for law enforcement to enforce laws that are already on the books and make our communities less safe. Riders that sacrifice the safety of our communities have no place in this legislation and we hope they are excluded from the final appropriations bill.
“As Congress continues to reconcile these two spending bills, Americans for Responsible Solutions and its members remain committed to ensuring the final legislation protects our nation’s most important public safety programs that help keep guns out of the wrong hands and reduce violence.”
About The House Version Of The CJS Bill
While the House version of the bill funds the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at similar levels as the Senate version, the House version exclusively contains several harmful “riders” that will hinder the enforcement of existing laws, including:
Section 537 would hinder the ATF’s ability to fight gun trafficking in Mexico by preventing ATF from requiring gun dealers to report multiple sales of certain weapons to ATF. As a result, this rider would make it easier for gun traffickers to buy certain semiautomatic rifles, which are preferred by the Mexican drug cartels.
Section 530 would make permanent a rider that prohibits ATF from denying an application to import a new model of shotgun. This would limit the ATF’s ability to minimize the risk of dangerous, serviceable shotguns from entering the United States and potentially ending up the in the hands of criminals.
Section 517 would make permanent a rider that prohibits ATF from denying an application to import U.S. origin curios and relics. “Curios and relics” are firearms that are of special interest to collectors, including those manufactured more than 50 years ago. Many dangerous assault rifles were manufactured for military use before 1967 and therefore fall within the definition of curios and relics.
Read more about the House version of the appropriations bill here.