WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva released the following statement today after President Obama announced executive action to help curb the gun violence that claimed 13,330 lives in the 52,561 total gun incidents – including 330 mass shootings – that took place in 2015. Obama’s orders expand the definition of a gun dealer, requiring anyone who earns a living selling firearms to perform a background check before any sale. They also increase the efficiency of the federal background check system, call for funding to hire 200 new ATF agents, and invest $500 million in access to mental health care.
The executive actions come at a time of overwhelming popular support for commonsense protections to end the gun violence epidemic. A survey in November found that 83 percent of gun owners support background checks on all firearm sales, including 72 percent of NRA members. 79 percent of gun owners and 64 percent of NRA members surveyed called for politicians to take action to require more background checks before gun sales, which is exactly what president Obama’s order does.
“All gun purchases should be subject to a background check, and I applaud President Obama for working within his power towards achieving that goal,” Rep. Grijalva said. “The American people have been consistent in their demands that Congress stem the bloodshed brought on by our lax gun laws, but the Republicans in charge have turned a deaf ear to all but one constituency: the NRA’s leadership. These politicians have become pawns for an industry that breeds violence, and the results are tragic, unacceptable, and completely preventable.”
President Obama’s executive order comes just days before the five-year anniversary on January 8th of the shooting in Tucson that targeted Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and claimed six innocent lives.
“Gabby’s attack made this issue personal for every single Member of Congress. If not then, then when? If not after Newtown, when 26 children and adults were massacred, then when? If not after terrorists opened fire at a facility for the developmentally disabled in San Bernardino, then when? The answer is never for Congressional Republicans, because they’re already bought and sold by the gun industry.
“The NRA will try to say this is solely about taking away our Second Amendment rights, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Their number one goal is maintaining gun sales, while the number one goal of Congressional leaders should be the safety of the American people. President Obama has taken steps today to rise above the GOP’s intransigence on gun violence, and proposed much-needed investments in our enforcement and mental health capabilities. I look forward to working with him and our next president to build on this success.”