Washington, DC — Following Gun Violence Survivors Week and ahead of the anniversary of the Parkland shooting, Congressman Jake Auchincloss, (D, MA-04), became an original co-sponsor of two gun safety measures introduced in the House.
The first, introduced by Congressman Andy Levin (D, MI-09), is the Protect Children Through Safe Gun Ownership Act, which, according to Auchincloss’ office, will reduce the number of preventable firearm tragedies among children and teens by:
Preventing any parent or guardian from providing consent to allow a minor to possess or use a handgun, unless they have actual knowledge that the juvenile will be in the presence and under the active supervision of the parent or another adult;
Promoting responsible gun ownership by requiring firearms to be secured in a gun storage or safety device and allowing victims of gun violence or their families to sue if there is death or physical harm resulting from a firearm not being properly stored;
Creating a grant program at the Department of Education to support eligible school districts conducting information sessions on gun safety and providing parents with educational materials on gun safety, including the importance of secure firearms storage and best practices on how to keep guns secure from children; and
Requiring the Secretary of Education to issue guidance on best practices for keeping firearms secure from children and ways that school districts can implement age-appropriate education on gun safety for parents.
During the press conference, Auchincloss said in part, “As a Marine officer, I had the privilege of commanding Americans first in Afghanistan and then in Panama. And as infantry and reconnaissance platoons, we employed a range of weaponry from sidearms to assault weapons to heavy machine guns to mortars. In order to have the privilege and responsibility of carrying those arms, Marine officer candidates spend three months in basic training – sleeping, eating, patrolling, training with unarmed weapons before they’re even allowed to handle ammunition. Once given the right to even hold the weapon, we then lock weapons in the Marine Corps behind three locked doors every night. Three locked doors…Because the Marines Corps understands that safe storage is just common sense for keeping people safe. My home state of Massachusetts has the safe storage law. It works. It has saved lives. [This] bill takes these common sense reforms and applies them to the national stage. We have a Democratic Congress. We have a Democratic president. It is time for us to abolish the filibuster and send gun safety legislation to the president’s desk so we can protect American children.”
The Protect Children Through Safe Gun Ownership Act is endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Brady: United Against Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, March For Our Lives, National Education Association (NEA) and Sandy Hook Promise.
Auchincloss also became an original co-sponsor of the Trafficking Reduction and Criminal Enforcement (TRACE) Act, led by Congressman Mike Quigley (IL-05). This bill will help the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reduce illegal firearms trafficking and make it harder for criminals to obtain deadly weapons.
“The TRACE Act is a key step towards preventing gun violence. With this bill, we can close the loopholes that allow guns to get in the wrong hands,” said Auchincloss.
This legislation is supported by Brady: United Against Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, Newtown Action Alliance, Purpose over Pain, and the Violence Policy Center.
Auchincloss’ office says that the TRACE Act would:
Require background check records to be maintained for a minimum of 180 days. The Tiahrt Amendments currently require 24-hour record destruction, making it nearly impossible to catch law-breaking gun dealers who falsify their records or track straw purchasers who buy guns on behalf of criminals.
Require gun dealers to perform inventory checks to report lost and stolen guns, a measure currently prohibited under the Tiahrt Amendments. If law-abiding dealers reported inventories, the ATF would be much more effective at identifying lost and stolen weapons and combating corrupt gun dealers.
Repeal restrictions on gun trace data disclosures. Currently, members of the public, including researchers and litigants, cannot get trace data from ATF under Tiahrt restrictions. Trace data is also inadmissible as evidence in civil proceedings under existing policy. The TRACE Act would repeal these restrictions.
Require that new firearms have a second, hidden serial number located inside the frame or receiver that is only visible under infrared light when the firearm is fully disassembled. This would make it harder for criminals to remove serial numbers from firearms in an attempt to thwart law enforcement.