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Foster: President Takes Important Steps To Curb Gun Violence, Time For Congress To Act

Jan 5, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11) called President Obama’s announcement of executive actions to curb gun violence “an important step.”

“The actions announced by President Obama are an important step to curb the tragic epidemic of violence that is tearing apart communities,” said Foster. “The President’s proposals will improve background checks, increase enforcement, expand access to mental health care and drive research into gun safety.”

“While these actions are much needed, they alone are not enough,” Foster added. “It’s time for Members of Congress to stand up against the special interests that have blocked every reasonable effort to curb gun violence and take action.”  

The executive actions announced by President Obama today will take steps to curb gun violence by: 

  • Toughening background checks nationwide:  The President’s executive actions provide new guidance on existing federal laws, clarifying that any individual in the business of selling firearms must obtain a license through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and therefore conduct background checks on prospective gun purchasers. These actions also include new measures and resources to make the background check system more efficient and effective.
  • Protecting communities with bolstered enforcement: The executive actions take new steps to promote smart and effective enforcement of our gun laws – including a proposed increase in funding for more ATF agents, greater resources for tracking illegal online firearms trafficking and strengthened domestic violence outreach efforts. 
  • Improving mental health services: The President is proposing increased investment to expand access to mental health care. Further, the executive actions remove barriers that prevent the reporting of relevant mental health information to the background check system. 
  • Driving new research into gun safety: The executive actions direct the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into new technology to make firearms safer.

Foster is a cosponsor of H.R. 1217, the King-Thompson bill to strengthen background checks nationwide.  The legislation would expand the existing background check system to cover all commercial firearm sales, including those at gun shows, over the internet or in classified ads while providing reasonable exceptions for family and friend transfers. 

Foster is also a consponsor of H.R.4269, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2015 to prohibit the sale, transfer, production, and importation of new military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines. The legislation also includes new safeguards on the sale or transfer of assault weapons already in circulation.