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Representatives Davis and Pascrell Introduce Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act

Reps. Danny K. Davis (D-IL07) and Bill Pascrell, Jr., (D-NJ09) today introduced The Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act (HR 5103) - legislation to prevent gun violence and increase community safety by increasing the federal taxes on guns and ammunition, including closing current loopholes that allow some of the most popular and deadly firearms to avoid taxation and regulation.

Rep. Davis, a Member of the Ways and Means Committee, stated, “Gun violence in America has reached epidemic proportions and we cannot, as a nation, any longer tolerate the on-going social and economic costs of inaction.  Gun violence is a daily reality for America and, in particular, for urban cities like Chicago.  The crisis should outrage us all. This legislation is a pro-active approach to reducing gun violence by using proven preventive programs which have been starved for funds until now.  As part of a comprehensive, multidimensional strategy to reduce gun violence, this legislation closes major loopholes in tax law and lays out an equitable, long term, sustainable strategy to provide the requisite resources.”

"As a former mayor of one of the largest cities in New Jersey, I know how critical the issue of reducing gun violence is to our communities," said Rep. Pascrell, co-Chair of the House Law Enforcement Caucus and member of the Ways and Means Committee. "All across our country, local police departments have had their budgets slashed and been forced to lay off officers, reducing their ability to protect our communities from the scourge of gun violence. It has been well over two decades since tax rates were last adjusted on firearms and ammunition, and I believe it is appropriate that we look to these taxes as a way to direct additional resources to law enforcement, background checks and gun violence research. This bill represents a major investment in the protection of our children and our communities, and reflects the long-term societal costs of gun and ammunition purchases in our country.”

Gun violence exacts a tremendous price from our citizens, our governments, and the public health of our nation.  Recent research demonstrates that firearm injury costs the United States over $214 billion annually, with almost $12 billion of this loss bourn by state, federal and local governments.  Given that these numbers only include costs post injury and not costs associated with preventing gun violence such as increased law enforcement, community intervention programs, these figures dramatically underestimate the true cost of gun violence to government. Remarkably, 65% of all costs to government are for intentionally-inflicted homicide or assault.  The University of Chicago Crime Lab estimates that gun violence costs the City of Chicago $2.5 billion a year alone.  Despite the high cost of gun violence, current federal taxes on guns and ammunition yielded only $749 million in 2016..  In contrast, federal taxes on alcohol and cigarettes yielded $8 billion and $13.27 billion respectively.

The Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act will increase federal taxes on guns and ammunition to provide stable revenue to fund violence prevention efforts, enforcement of existing gun laws, and gun violence research. Prominent public health researchers from Harvard and Boston Children’s Hospital advocate such an approach, which draws on the success that increased taxes on tobacco has had on representing the true cost of smoking, decreasing use and abuse, and providing stable funding to offset the costs to governments and the public of smoking.  The excise tax on guns and ammunition have not changed since 1919 and 1941 respectively. Given the high costs incurred by governments due to gun violence, an increase in federal taxes represents a reasonable step forward both to address the national crisis of gun violence.

The Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act will direct the estimated $714 million in new revenue to programs designed to make communities safer and reduce violence, including: Project Safe Neighborhood Grants; Community-Oriented Policing Grants; Community-Based Violence Prevention Initiative Grants; research into the causes and prevention of gun violence via the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; the National Criminal History Improvement Program; the National Instant Criminal Background Check System Record Improvement Program; and grants to encourage schools and districts to improve school climate and engagement.

?This legislation has already been endorsed by the Major Cities Chiefs Association; the Violence Policy Center; and the Newtown Action Alliance.
Proposed new tax rates:. ?
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    repName Danny K. Davis  
    helpWithFedAgencyAddress Chicago District Office
    2813-15 W. Fifth Avenue
    Chicago, Illinois 60612
    district 7th District of Illinois  
    academyUSCitizenDate July 1, 2017  
    academyAgeDate July 1, 2017  
    academyApplicationDueDate October 20, 2017  
    repStateABBR Il  
    repDistrict 7  
    repState Illinois  
    repDistrictText 7th  
    SponsoredBills Sponsored Bills  
    CoSponsoredBills Co-Sponsored Bills