Culpeper Star-Exponent: Democrats: “Congress must act” to curtail gun violence


U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, is part of a 68-member effort in Congress urging President Biden to take further actions to combat gun violence and limit the sale of assault weapons.

A Sept. 12 letter from members of the U.S. House and Senate laid out additional policy proposals the Biden Administration could potentially undertake as part of its push to address gun violence through executive action, according to a release from the congresswoman’s office.

“We commend the important steps your administration has recently taken on this issue, including steps to expand the scope of dealers required to conduct background checks, increase public access to information about dealers who violate the law, and more,” the letter states.

“Nevertheless, the American people expect the federal government to use every possible tool to reduce gun violence. Congress must act and it is an ongoing tragedy that Republican leadership refuses to do so. We also believe you can exercise your executive authority to take additional action to address gun violence without congressional action.”

The lawmakers continued, “These proposals are just examples of the additional actions your Administration can take to reduce gun violence and protect our communities from the next mass shooting. With Republicans in Congress refusing to act, the American people are relying on your Administration to ensure that they can move through their daily lives without fear of firearms on the streets, in public establishments, and in their homes.”

In March, Biden issued an executive order to address gun violence, including directing the U.S. Secretary of Defense to develop and implement principles to further public safety practices during its firearm acquisition. The order further directed the U.S. Attorney General to publicly release information about dealers who have violated federal firearm laws. Still, 2023 is on track to be the deadliest year for mass shootings in recent American history with nearly 500 mass shootings since the beginning of the year, according to the release.

Proposed policies urged by the members of Congress include:

*Instructing DoD and other federal agencies that purchase firearms to implement standards for procuring taxpayer-funded firearms only from manufacturers that agree to adopt a code of conduct. The code of conduct could include declining to sell military-grade weapons to civilians and only selling to responsible dealers who refuse to proceed with a sale without a completed background check even when they are legally authorized to do so.

*Reevaluating the list of guns eligible for import under the “sporting purposes” exception, which could significantly reduce the import of assault weapons.

*Transferring authority over assault rifle exports back to the State Department from the Commerce Department, reversing the Trump Administration shift of authority which allowed a surge in exports.

*Encouraging the Federal Trade Commission to issue a policy statement on “unfair or deceptive” gun ads that falsely assert that firearm ownership increases household residents’ physical safety from gun violence.

*Directing the Department of Justice to review its interpretation of the Tiahrt Amendment to expand the types of firearm trace data that can be released to the public including to researchers, litigants, and journalists.

Spanberger, a former federal law enforcement officer, led this push alongside U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), as well as U.S. Representatives Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-FL-10) Diana DeGette (D-CO-01), and Dina Titus (D-NV-01).

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