• April 17th, 2024
  • Wednesday, 06:22:41 AM

DeGette Leads Colleagues in urging President Biden to Further Address Gun Violence

U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO)



U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Dina Titus (D-NV), Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-FL) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) – along with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) – led 68 lawmakers in a letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to take further executive action to combat gun violence and limit the sale of assault weapons.


“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,” wrote the lawmakers.  “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 epidemic of gun violence demands that you use the full power of the executive branch,” the lawmakers continued. “With Republicans in Congress blocking further legislative action to reduce gun violence, we urge you to leverage the full scope of your executive authority on this issue.”


This letter specifically calls for:


  1. Leveraging the federal government’s purchasing power to improve public safety. The government spent nearly $2 billion in FY22 purchasing guns and ammunition from private companies. This letter calls for DoD and other government agencies that purchase firearms to develop and implement standards for procuring taxpayer-funded firearms only from manufacturers that agree to adopt a code of conduct.
  2. Revisiting the list of guns eligible for import under the “sporting purposes” exception. Roughly one-fourth of rifles in the U.S. are imported through a “sporting exception” that allows importation if a firearm is suitable for sporting purposes. ATF has not reviewed this list in over a decade, and a direction from the White House to reassess this list could stop the flow of guns into the U.S. that are not actually used for sporting purposes.
  3. Transferring authority over assault rifle export controls back to the State Dept. from the Commerce Dept. When President Trump transferred export control authority for assault rifles from the State Dept. to Commerce, export license approvals jumped 30%. This is because Commerce is not required to notify Congress of license approvals in the way that State is. Transferring authority back to the State Dept. allows for greater scrutiny in export controls.
  4. Encouraging FTC to act on “unfair and deceptive” gun advertisements. Gun sellers use fear mongering to take advantage of anxious buyers through messaging that says firearm ownership increases household residents’ physical safety from gun violence, despite evidence to the contrary. The FTC should issue a policy statement saying that this practice is an “unfair and deceptive” practice.
  5. DOJ review of Tiahrt Amendment. The Tiahrt Amendment prohibits ATF from releasing information from its firearm trace database to the public. This has stymied the public’s ability – researchers included – to understand the full scope of gun violence in the U.S. DOJ should issue guidance clarifying interpretation of this amendment, which would allow ATF to disclose more information about guns used in crimes.

These executive actions to prevent gun violence are endorsed by Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords, and Brady: United Against Gun Violence.


A copy of the letter is available here.