WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) introduced the House version of the Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act, which includes and builds upon Congressional Democrats’ strongest gun safety legislation in one bold, comprehensive bill that works to end the epidemic of gun violence in America.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced the Senate version of the bill.
“We’re in a gun violence crisis: 2023 is on track to see the most mass shootings in recent history, and gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children and young people,” said Senator Warren. “This crisis demands big, structural change to protect kids in schools, victims of domestic violence in their homes, and Americans in communities across the country – so I’m renewing the push for my comprehensive Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act.”
“It’s painfully obvious that communities of color disproportionately bear the brunt of gun violence in the United States, particularly Black women, who are twice as likely as white women to be fatally shot by an intimate partner,” said Rep. Johnson. “Even when firearms are not used to kill or maim, they are used to threaten women at alarming rates. We know that 4.5 million women alive today have reported being threatened with a firearm. Commonsense gun laws — like the Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act — as well as direct investments in the communities that are most affected by gun violence are crucial to ending gun violence and saving lives. I commend Sen. Warren for taking comprehensive action to address the scourge of gun violence in our nation, and I’m proud to reintroduce its companion in the House.”
Every day — in their homes and on their sidewalks, in their schools and supermarkets, in their places of worship and workplaces — Americans are killed or injured by gun violence. As reported by the Gun Violence Archive, there have been at least 620 mass shootings through December 1 of this year. That’s quickly closing in on the 645 mass shootings in the country last year – the worst year on record since the group began tracking them in 2014. There was a total of 690 mass shootings in 2021. According to Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, more than 100 people are killed with guns in the U.S. every single day, 4 of which are children or teens. This is a distinctly American crisis, with the U.S. having nearly half of the estimated 857 million civilian-owned guns in the world, and a gun homicide rate that is 25 times higher and a gun suicide rate that is 10 times higher than that of other comparable countries.
Since 2013, Georgia alone has suffered more than 160 mass shootings. More than 200 children and more than 560 teenagers have been killed or injured during that time, and more than 3,500 Georgians have lost their lives to gun violence. Federal law has failed to address this deadly epidemic. Federal gun laws are rife with loopholes and contradictions, and have been severely weakened by the gun industry, which has worked to hamstring meaningful regulation, shield the gun industry from liability, and weaken the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) — the agency tasked with enforcing gun laws.
The Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act would help address this deadly crisis. The bill would:
- Create a federal gun licensing systemand require a federal or state-issued firearms license to purchase or own a gun and establish a grant program to help states set up their own systems.
- Require universal background checks,close legal loopholes that allow individuals to skirt background check requirements and require background check denials to be reported to law enforcement.
- Keep guns out of the wronghands by banning individuals who present safety risks from buying guns, establishing Extreme Risk Protection Order systems, and cracking down on gun theft.
- Ensure guns are used and stored responsiblyby raising the minimum age for all gun or ammunition purchases to 21, establishing a 7-day waiting period for the purchase of all guns, strengthening gun storage laws, and banning guns on all school campuses.
- Keep weapons of war off our streetsby banning military-style assault weapons, lethal gun accessories, and untraceable and undetectable firearms.
- Crack down on gun traffickingby banning bulk gun purchases and establishing a new law to specifically ban gun trafficking.
- Improve oversight of gun dealersby strengthening ATF’s authority to inspect gun shops, enhancing record-keeping requirements for gun dealers, and repealing harmful appropriations riders that limit law enforcement’s ability to trace guns that are used in crimes and hold gun dealers accountable when they break the law.
- Hold the gun industry accountableby clarifying that gun manufacturers can be held liable for civil penalties for the harms their guns cause, authorizing the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to address safety defects in firearms and firearm accessories, and raising the excise tax on gun sales to 30% and ammunition sales to 50%.
- Invest in research and community-based gun violence preventionby providing $120 million in annual funding for federal research into gun violence and creating a new grant program to provide $120 million per year for gun violence intervention programs.
Democrats have been leading the fight to pass commonsense legislation to end gun violence and save lives. The Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act incorporates a number of bills led by other members, including Holmes Norton (DC), Lynch (MA), Quigley (IL), Moulton (MA), Napolitano (CA), Lee (CA), Goldman (NY), Trone (MD), McGovern (MA), Espaillat (NY), Keating (MA), Keating (MA), Trahan (MA), Wilson (FL) and Pressley (MA).
The legislation is supported by: Amnesty International, USA, Boston Medical Center, Esperanza United, Futures Without Violence, Giffords, Guns Down America, Jewish Women International, Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, March for Our Lives, Massachusetts Medical Society, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Council of Jewish Women, Newtown Action Alliance, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, and Stop Handgun Violence.