The number of guns sold in America has skyrocketed in recent years, and increases annually. By recent accounts 270 million to 310 million, close to one firearm for every man, woman and child in America. It is obvious that too many Americans own a gun and do not know how to safely store and use their firearms.
Unfortunately the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), in conjunction with the gun manufacture lobby, have had an outsized influence on American political decision making, with the result being we now have a public health and safety tragedy in America.
A few examples:
- NRA-ILA backed provisions at the State level prohibiting doctors who inquire about gun ownership in the home and prohibit any discussion regarding safe gun storage procedures in the home, so called “Doctor Gag-laws”.
- NRA-ILA backed provision at the Federal level striping the Center for Disease Control (CDC) of its budget for firearm injury research, and forbidding the CDC from using any funding “to advocate or promote gun control.” This same language was added to the 2011 National Institute of Health (NIH) funding bill.
- NRA-ILA lobbying to allow the 1994 law outlawing assault weapons and large capacity magazines ban to expire in 2004.
- NRA-ILA backed provision at the State level expanding concealed and open care gun laws in locations such as trains, parks, bars and churches.
- NRA-ILA lobbying in 2005 to pass a Federal law that shields gun dealers, trade associations and manufacturers from liability in lawsuits involving firearms. No other industry in America enjoys this level of protection under the law.
- NRA-ILA backed Federal rules that exempt firearms from any oversight by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, making it the only U.S. consumer product not subject to federal safety regulations. Gun manufacturers in America are NOT required to consider the safety of the guns they make.
- NRA-ILA lobbying against any Federal requirement that firearm owners be trained, or that they demonstrate any knowledge about the safe handling of firearms.
- NRA-ILA backed Federal rules that prohibit the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from conducting more than one unannounced inspection of a given gun dealer per year. A 2013 audit by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General found that 58% of dealers had not been inspected within the past five years due, in part, to a lack of funding for these inspections.
In total, the NRA, the NRA-ILA, American gun manufacturers and complicit Federal and State politicians have created a very difficult landscape for gun safety reform. “Gun Safety is No Accident” and gun safety advocates, that includes 86% of Americans and 72% of gun owners, have suggested some or all of the following reforms:
- Establish a national gun injury and death database, and removing all prohibitions and restore funding now placed on the NIH and CDC in this regard
- Extend gun purchase and possession prohibitions to people known to be at high risk of violent crimes, alcohol abusers, and serious juvenile offenders
- Establish universal system of background checks for anyone (private or commercial) buying a firearm or ammunition
- Require proof of annual firearms use and safety training
- Remove the prohibition of oversight by the Consumer Product Safety Commission on guns both manufactured and imported in the USA
- Require credible gun safety devices: trigger safety, loading indicators, magazine disconnect mechanisms
- Encourage development of new technologies that will increase gun safety (smart guns)
- Require and fund law enforcement oversight of gun dealerships and ammunition sellers
- Establish Federal laws making a gun owner legally responsible if their firearm is used or stored in a negligent manner and a child is injured as a result
Monstah PAC seeks to highlight the political position of candidates and compare them to each other on the issue of gun safety in America, specifically those involving barriers to product safety oversight, encouragement of new technologies, and the establishment of an all-inclusive, robust national database of gun related injury and death.