Reps. Watson Coleman, Pallone, Sires and Espaillat Lead Introduction of Commonsense Gun Violence Prevention Legislation
Washington, DC (June 4, 2021) – Today, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) along with co-sponsors Congressmen Frank Pallone (NJ-6), Albio Sires (NJ-8) and Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) reintroduced the Handgun Licensing and Registration Act of 2021. This legislation would overturn an outdated 1986 law to build a framework of commonsense standards for handgun ownership in the United States by creating a federal licensing and registration process for gun ownership with minimum requirements that:
- the person seeking gun ownership is at least 21 years old;
- the person undergoes firearm training;
- the handgun owner has undergone a criminal history and background check (including submitting fingerprints and photographs) and;
- a license renewal process after five years of issuance.
The bill would allow states to the opportunity to opt out of the federal system on the condition that they implement a state registration system that meets the same requirements.
“The National Rifle Association has for years threatened, fundraised and strong-armed the debate around the second amendment for so long that commonsense measures — measures that would bring down rates of gun violence and even receive the support of law enforcement — have been deemed taboo. Today, after years of horrific incidences of gun violence, large majorities of Americans – Democrat, Republican, and Independent – are calling for action,” said Watson Coleman. “Our government requires registration and basic standards for voting, operating a vehicle, even opening a business. Yet, for weapons created with the single intent to take a life, we have developed a dangerous aversion to any mechanism to understand where and with whom these weapons reside. It’s time to give law enforcement the tools to prevent this violence and provide a record of accountability for those who seek to do others harm.”
“Gun violence is a public health crisis, and we cannot afford to wait any longer to act,” said Pallone. “It’s past time to finally enact commonsense legislation that will save lives and make our communities safer. The Handgun Licensing and Registration Act raises the threshold requirements for handgun ownership nationally to reflect the smart actions taken in New Jersey. Without meaningful legislation, the thoughts and prayers Members of Congress offer after each tragic loss of life are worthless.”
“The prevalence of gun violence in our nation is deeply troubling and we cannot delay in finding a solution to save lives,” said Sires. “The prevalence of mass shootings just this year show that immediate action must be taken. I am proud to join my colleagues in creating commonsense gun ownership solutions to prevent weapons from getting into the hands of those who intend to terrorize their community, as we have seen far too many times.”
“Americans demand commonsense reform to prevent the ever-growing number of gun violence and incidents around the nation,” said Espaillat. “Americans own an estimated 393 million firearms, accounting for more than one gun for every person in this country. It’s no secret that America has a broken gun system, but we must continue to push for comprehensive reform to close the loopholes that allow guns and firearms to fall into the wrong hands. As the number of deaths from gun violence continue to rise to uncharted rates, we simply cannot wait for the next breaking news story to take action. I’m proud to stand with Congresswoman Watson Colman to reintroduce the Handgun Licensing and Registration Act to help strengthen our nation’s licensing and registration process and help keep our communities safe.”
Despite making up only about 4% of the world’s population, the United States account for nearly 40% of all guns. According to Brady Campaign 316 people are shot and over 100 die in the US per day. With this high number of firearms on our streets, is shocking to know that most states do not have a system in place to easily identify the gun owner. There are also very few states that require gun owners to take a firearm safety course, or other licensing requirements.
Text of the bill can be found here.