Former ATF Special Agent Responds To TX Sheriff’s Fallacious Claim That More Guns Would Have Stopped The Manchester Bombing

May 24, 2017 — As our nation mourns the terror attack in Manchester, David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor at Americans for Responsible Solutions and a retired ATF special agent, released the following statement regarding Texas Sheriff Tracy Murphree’s fallacious claim that the Manchester bombing would never have happened if Europe had more guns and people were better armed.

“There’s no evidence to back up the claim that fewer gun violence prevention policies would have in any way prevented this tragic terror attack or protected innocent lives. In fact, the opposite is true: America has higher rates of homicide than the U.K. and here in the United States, two-thirds of homicides involve firearms. Active shooter terrorist attacks in the United States have become extremely deadly and tragically frequent. The facts speak for themselves: when guns are more accessible by dangerous people, there are higher rates of gun homicide and homicide overall.

“The gun lobby inaccurately argues that civilians can effectively use guns to stop mass shootings despite a lack of evidence, while their agenda would force their allies in the White House and Congress to break their commitments to law enforcement agencies – the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep Americans safe from exactly these kinds of tragedies.

“Rather than send more people who pose a threat to our communities into our neighborhoods with weapons of war, we should focus on giving local law enforcement the resources they need and arming them with laws and policies that are proven to stop terror attacks, prevent violence and keep Americans safe.”

ARS & The Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence Applaud New Rye Brook Gun Violence Prevention Ordinance

May 24, 2017 — Today, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, issued the below statement applauding the Rye Brook, New York, Board of Trustees for passing a new ordinance requiring gun dealers to adopt responsible practices proven to save lives and reduce gun violence. The Law Center and ARS’s policy experts helped craft this groundbreaking ordinance for the town of Rye Brook.

Allison Anderman, Managing Attorney, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence:

“Today, the Rye Brook Board of Trustees took bold, lifesaving action by passing a new, commonsense ordinance to ensure that gun dealers operate as safely as possible. These responsible policies will keep guns out of the wrong hands, help law enforcement solve crimes, and reduce gun thefts and trafficking. We hope the leadership exhibited by Rye Brook today will inspire other municipalities in New York and other states to step up and do their part to save lives from gun violence. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Americans for Responsible Solutions stand at the ready to help any local government looking to make their community a safer place to live. With a president and Congress in the gun lobby’s grip, now more than ever it’s up to officials at the state and local level to fight for the smart gun laws we know save lives, and that’s exactly what Rye Brook has done.”

About the Rye Brook Ordinance

Rye Brook’s ordinance is now one of the most comprehensive gun dealer regulations in New York State. The ordinance:

  • Prevents gun dealerships from operating within 500 feet of any public school, private school, nursery school, or religious institution, and zones them to appropriate commercial locations.
  • Requires that all ammunition and firearms be kept secured and stored in areas not accessible to the public.
  • Requires that dealers maintain an alarm system and video surveillance for security purposes and to aid law enforcement.
  • Requires gun dealers to post notices and warnings of firearm laws.
  • Requires gun dealers to report any theft or loss to local law enforcement officials.
  • Restricts admittance for minors to gun dealerships.
  • Prohibits individuals legally barred from possessing firearms from entering the gun dealership.
  • Requires gun dealers to report their inventory to law enforcement officials every six months.
  • Allows law enforcement to inspect gun dealerships for compliance with local, state and federal laws.
  • Requires background checks for the employees of gun dealers.

 

ICYMI: 4 Reasons Why Americans Should be Alarmed that Sheriff David Clarke Was Named to Top Homeland Security Job

May 19, 2017 – This week, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke accepted a senior position with the Department of Homeland Security. Known for his outrageous and inaccurate rhetoric, Sheriff Clarke has previously suggested that a semi-automatic weapon be added to the Great Seal of the United States and that ISIS and Black Lives Matter activists were forming an alliance to destroy America.

“Sheriff Clarke’s appointment to the Department of Homeland Security is the Trump administration bowing once again to the gun lobby, yet another reward for the 30 million dollars they spent to elect him,” said Peter Ambler, Executive Director for Americans for Responsible Solutions. “Clarke’s polarizing personality, close relationship with the gun lobby, and willful disregard for the safety of our communities and law enforcement is a direct threat to all Americans. This country doesn’t need a senior Homeland Security official who would rather shoot someone than call 911.”

Below are four red flags to know about David Clarke:

  • TOOL OF THE GUN LOBBY: The gun lobby has consistently relied on Clark to support and defend a variety of radical positions, including a weakening of concealed carry weapons in Wisconsin. After the Sandy Hook shootings, when 26 women and children were murdered, Clarke became a gun lobby media lightning rod when he called for citizens to arm themselves at a time when most were calling for commonsense gun legislation and safety.In addition to speaking at a variety of gun lobby events, Clarke’s cozy relationship with the gun lobby includes roles on their legal affairs, law enforcement assistance, and outreach committees in 2016.

  • DISREGARD FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT: In 2013, Clarke told his constituents, “911 is not our best option, […] point that barrel center mass and pull the trigger.” Clarke was featured in an ad by the Greater Wisconsin Committee stating, “I don’t dial 911. I will afterwards, to say ‘Come get this dead guy out of my house, he’s bleeding out and he’s messing up my carpet.’” He is known for his opposition to common sense gun safety laws like expanding background checks, and has suggested getting rid of gun-free school zones.

  • CONNECTION TO RUSSIA: Clarke, and many other members of the NRA delegation visited Russia in 2015 to meet with Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s defense industry and an ally of President Vladimir Putin. Rogozin is one of many in Putin’s inner circle who has been put under sanctions by the US government. This is part of a longstanding relationship between the NRA and Russian officials. The tangled web between Clark, the NRA, and Russia presents a direct danger to American safety and security.

  • CONNECTION TO TORTURE CASE: Charges are being filed against several members of Clarke’s staff in connection with the death of a mentally ill inmate last year, after having the water cut off in his cell. Inmates said Terrill Thomas spent his final days begging for water after jail staff shut down the flow to the pipes as punishment for his behavior. Thomas was one of four people to die at the Milwaukee jail within a six-month period in 2016. State lawmakers and an activist organization called on Clarke to resign over the deaths.

ARS Applauds Bipartisan Senate Bill To Combat Gun Trafficking, Release New Fact Sheet

May 18, 2017 – Today, Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, praised the Senate for introducing a bipartisan bill that would make firearms trafficking a federal crime and impose stronger penalties for “straw purchasers” who buy guns for individuals – like felons and convicted domestic abusers – who are prohibited under current federal law from buying or owning guns.

“If we’re serious about keeping deadly weapons out of the hands of dangerous people, we need to give law enforcement officers the tools they need crack down on the illegal gun trade,” said David Chipman, Retired ATF Special Agent, Senior Policy Advisor at Americans for Responsible Solutions. “One of the biggest and most dangerous gaps in our nation’s gun laws is the absence of a strong federal law to prevent illegal gun trafficking. Every year, tens of thousands of guns are purchased in states with weak gun safety laws and trafficked to states with stronger gun laws, where they end up in the hands of criminals and people unable to pass a background check. Senator Collins and Senator Leahy should be applauded for standing up to the gun lobby and leading the fight to crack down on the illegal gun trade.”

While, the “Stop Illegal Trafficking In Firearms Act,” does not impact the lawful purchase of firearms, it will help combat gun trafficking by:

  • Cracking Down On Straw Purchases & Smuggling. The bill would establish new federal criminal offenses to prohibit straw purchasing and criminalize the smuggling of firearms into the United States.

  • Strengthening Existing Laws To Help Law Enforcement Prosecute Traffickers. The bill would strengthen firearms transfer laws to include prohibited purchasers and give law enforcement additional tools to investigate and prosecute firearms traffickers.

Following the introduction of the bill, Americans for Responsible Solutions released a new factsheet detailing how strengthening federal firearms trafficking laws can significantly reduce gun murder and suicide rates and outlining concrete

  • Cracking Down On Straw Purchases: A straw purchase occurs when the actual buyer of a firearm uses another person to undergo the background check necessary to purchase a firearm from a federally licensed firearms dealer. Although prohibited by federal law, straw purchases are often treated as a mere paperwork violation and left unchecked. Stronger federal penalties for straw purchasing, as well as state-special straw purchasing laws, are solutions that will discourage this dangerous practice.

  • Requiring The Reporting Of Lost Or Stolen Firearms: There is no current federal law that requires gun owners to inform law enforcement when their firearms have been lost or stolen. Consequently, gun traffickers often claim that guns that were in their possession were lost or stolen in order to hide their involvement in gun trafficking. So far, at least 10 states have taken the responsible step to require gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms within a short period of time after discovering that they are missing.

  • Holding Corrupt And Negligent Gun Dealers Accountable: While federal law requires firearms dealers to have a federal license, loopholes enable unscrupulous dealers to engage in illegal business practices under the radar of the resource-strapped ATF. Strengthening gun dealer regulations will make it harder for corrupt dealers to sell guns to traffickers.

  • Passing Universal Background Checks: Many of the guns used in crimes in states with strong gun laws originate in states with weaker gun laws. For example, 50% of Chicago’s crime guns are purchased out of state, largely in Indiana, which lacks universal background checks. Closing the loophole in our federal background checks law is essential to ensuring guns aren’t sold to dangerous people and is the first line of defense to stopping trafficking.

In 114th Congress, the “Stop Illegal Trafficking In Firearms Act” was supported by host of major police organizations, including: the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the National Tactical Officers Association, the National District Attorneys Association, and the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.

Read the Fact Sheet: Reducing Gun Trafficking: Cracking Down on Illegal Gun Trade

Speak with an Expert: For additional information, or to be connected to a gun violence prevention expert, contact Sean at 215.778.1411.

ARS Applauds The Illinois House Judiciary Committee For Advancing Bill To Help Slow The Flow Of Illegal Guns In Illinois, Urge The House To Act

May 16, 2017 Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, applauded the Illinois House Judiciary Committee today for advancing the Gun Dealer Licensing Act (SB 1657) to help slow the flow of illegal guns in Illinois, and urged the full House to act to save lives. The bill would give state authorities and law enforcement the tools to encourage better business practices among federally licensed gun dealers and hold corrupt dealers accountable to slow the flow of illegal gun trafficking in Illinois and help keep guns out of the wrong hands.

The bill, which was passed by the Illinois Senate last month, would give state authorities and law enforcement the tools to encourage better business practices among federally licensed gun dealers and hold corrupt dealers accountable to slow the flow of illegal gun trafficking in Illinois and help keep guns out of the wrong hands. Read more about the Gun Dealer Licensing Act here.

Robin Lloyd, Director of Government Affairs, Americans for Responsible Solutions:

“Today is another good step toward making Illinois a safer place to live. In the face of calls for action from gun violence prevention advocates and public safety officials, leaders on the Illinois House Judiciary Committee voted to advance a responsible bill that will help help keep guns out of the wrong hands and protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Now it’s time for the Illinois House to follow suit, pass this commonsense bill, and send it to Governor Rauner’s desk.”

Negligent gun dealers within Illinois fuel the illegal gun trade. From 2009 to 2013, 40 percent of the guns used in crimes in Chicago came from gun dealers within Illinois. But thanks to loopholes in federal law and a lack of federal resources for enforcement, Illinois doesn’t have the tools and authority it needs to combat illegal or negligent business practices that threaten Illinois families.

The Gun Dealer Licensing Act will help slow the the flow of illegal guns through a number of small changes to the state’s laws, including:

  • Requiring Criminal Background Checks for Gun Dealer Employees: Gun store employees often have access to huge inventories of guns and it is just common sense to make sure that the dealer and employees are just as responsible as the buyers.
  • Training and Education for Gun Dealers Employees So Our Background Check System Can Work Better:  The bill would require training to ensure that dealers and their employees know how to conduct background checks, identify and stop straw purchases, and properly store guns to prevent thefts.
  • Ensuring Gun Dealers Are Held Accountable:  IDFPR and law enforcement would have the ability to inspect the inventories of licensed gun dealers, so we can make sure gun dealers are held accountable for missing firearms.

Between 2002 – 2014, 14,273 people were killed with guns in Illinois, nearly three times the number of all U.S. combat troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. A person is killed with a gun in Illinois every eight hours. In 2014, 1,179 people were killed by guns in Illinois. [Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence]

In 2016, Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords helped launch the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, which brought together gun violence prevention advocates, faith leaders, medical professionals and others to urge support for commonsense gun violence prevention policies, including the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. Captain Mark Kelly also met with leaders in Illinois last spring to advocate for the bill which will help reduce the illegal trafficking of firearms through straw purchasers, keeping guns out of the wrong hands.