WASHINGTON —After meeting with President Barack Obama this afternoon, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) released the following statements after the White House announced new executive actions to combat gun violence:
“The President’s executive measures mark a milestone moment in the marathon effort against gun violence in America. In our meeting at the White House today, President Obama outlined critical, overdue steps that treat gun violence as a public health crisis – an insidious scourge that claims 30,000 lives each year,” said Blumenthal. “His actions are bold, legal and necessary – essential due to Congress’s reprehensible failure to act in the face of dire need. The overriding message is our common commitment to keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people, including convicted felons, drug addicts and domestic abusers. Sellers of guns in substantial number should be required to conduct background checks regardless of how they make those sales – a mandate supported by the vast majority of Americans. The existing loophole mocks practical reality and federal law’s clear intent and purpose. The President’s initiative also recognizes the urgent need for mental health services and funding to comprehensively address gun violence as a public health crisis. As Congress continues its complicity through inaction, I applaud President Obama's move to save lives and protect public safety.”
“I left the White House today thinking that President Obama just gets it. He’s listened to the heart wrenching stories of grieving parents and spouses. He’s seen the raw pain in the eyes of those who have had their lives shattered in an instant by a murderer with a gun. And like almost everyone I talk to in Connecticut, he cannot believe that Congress has done absolutely nothing to save the lives of the people they represent. He gets it and he knows it’s time to act,” said Murphy. “As I wrote when we first urged the president to take action, it’s beyond comprehension that Congress is turning a blind eye to the murder and mayhem in the communities we serve. My constituents have made it clear that they want to make sure that only law-abiding citizens can buy a gun. Today’s meeting reassured me that the President stands with us in Connecticut, even if Congress won’t.”
“I’m grateful that the President is heeding our call to take action, and appreciate today’s meeting to discuss ways to take immediate steps within existing law to prevent gun violence. Background checks save lives. Every single day, they stop more than 170 felons – as well as domestic abusers and fugitives – from buying a gun,” said Esty. “Today’s action is a necessary, responsible next step to update an exceptionally vague definition in the current background check system that some bad actors exploit in order to sell a high volume of guns without ever conducting a background check. We should not let an irresponsible Congress prevent the executive branch from clarifying current law to protect children and families, and President Obama showed that he gets it.”
Blumenthal and Murphy were joined by 24 of their colleagues in sending a letter to the President last month, specifically urging him to eliminate a loophole that currently allows individuals without a federal license to conduct high volumes of gun sales at gun shows, over the internet, and elsewhere, all without conducting background checks.
Esty, Vice Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, and the Chair, U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) sent a similar letter signed by 114 of their colleagues in the House.