1/16/2013 — 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, after President Obama unveiled a comprehensive package of executive actions and legislative proposals to help prevent gun violence, including a call to reinstate the assault weapons ban, impose limits on high-capacity ammunition clips, expand background checks for gun purchasers, and improve access to mental health services, U.S. Senator Jack Reed issued the following statement:

“I support common sense and practical steps to help reduce gun violence.  Today’s announcement at the White House is a smart step in the right direction, but the President can’t do this all on his own.  Congress needs to work on a bipartisan basis to pass common sense laws to keep our communities safe.  According to the Brady Campaign, about 40 percent of gun sales happen with no background checks.  We can do better and must do better.  This is a comprehensive set of proposals that provides resources for police, community efforts, and schools.

“Reasonable limitations on military assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition clips, and armor piercing bullets are fully consistent with the Second Amendment.   Indeed, in a 2008 majority opinion, Supreme Court Justice Antony Scalia made clear that the Second Amendment is “not unlimited,” and is not “a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”  Limiting access to military-grade weapons and better background checks will help save lives and make our communities safer.

“Improving access to mental health care will also help stem the incidence of gun violence.  That is why I have authored legislation to ensure at-risk youth with mental and behavioral health problems can get help before it is too late.”

The President also signed 23 executive actions — which require no Congressional approval — including:

•        Ordering federal agencies to make more data available for background checks.

•        Lifting restrictions and directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence.

•        Strengthening penalties for people who lie on background checks and requiring federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

•        Requiring federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

•        Providing schools with flexibility to use federal grant money to improve school safety, such as by hiring school resource officers.

•        Giving communities grants to institute programs to keep guns away from people who shouldn't have them.