On April 11, by a vote of 68-31, the U.S. Senate voted to move forward with debate and votes on a variety of gun control proposals.
The underlying bill that will be considered by the Senate is S. 649, the so-called "Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013." A number of amendments will be offered to S. 649, including a ban on commonly and lawfully-owned firearms and magazines and language to criminalize the private transfer of firearms and force gun owners to get government permission to transfer guns to friends after "advertising" that might be as little as a Facebook post or a listing in a gun club newsletter. This language--a misguided "compromise" proposal drafted by Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)--would be proposed as an alternative to Sen. Schumer's background check provisions that are currently in the bill.
NRA's position on these proposals is unmistakably clear--we are unequivocally opposed to S. 649, the amendments mentioned above, and any other anti-gun amendments. As we have noted previously, expanding background checks at gun shows or elsewhere will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools. Given the importance of these issues, votes on all anti-gun amendments or proposals will be considered in NRA's future candidate evaluations.
If the Senate is truly concerned about enhancing safety, rather than political grandstanding, it will replace the current provisions of S. 649 with language that is properly focused on addressing mental health inadequacies; prosecuting violent criminals; and keeping our kids safe in their schools.
The next round of votes on these measures is likely to occur on Tuesday, April 16.
The most important thing NRA members and Second Amendment supporters can do right now is to call, email, write and fax their U.S. Senators, urging them to oppose S. 649 and all anti-gun amendments to that bill, and to encourage your family, friends and fellow firearm owners to do the same. To identify and contact your legislators in Washington, D.C., you can use the "Write Your Reps" feature at www.NRAILA.org, or you can reach your member of Congress by phone at 202-224-3121.
To read NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox's letter that was sent to Senators prior to Thursday's procedural vote, click here.