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Statement of Administration Policy: S. 649 - Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013

April 11, 2013



(Sen. Reid, D-NV)

The Administration strongly supports S. 649, which takes critical steps to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in the Nation. This legislation includes several major elements of the President's plan to prevent gun violence, including requiring enforceable criminal background checks for all gun sales, imposing serious penalties on gun traffickers, and enhancing school safety. The measures in this bill are common-sense solutions that in no way infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners and that have the strong support of the American people.

Title I of the bill, the Fix Gun Checks Act, expands the existing criminal background check system to cover all gun sales. Over the past fourteen years, the existing system has been effective at keeping more than two million guns out of the wrong hands, but this expansion is necessary to close loopholes that allow criminals and other dangerous individuals to avoid background checks entirely. The bill will also strengthen the background check system by giving States added incentives to provide criminal history records and information on people prohibited from buying firearms for reasons related to their mental health.

Title II of the bill, the Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act, gives law enforcement much-needed tools to stop schemes that funnel guns to criminals. It creates a Federal offense for so-called "straw purchasing," which will make it easier to prosecute people who buy guns for felons and others who should not have them. It also creates a new Federal trafficking crime and authorizes stronger penalties for leaders of trafficking organizations. These measures will help prosecutors dismantle trafficking rings and hold the most culpable members accountable.

Title III of the bill, the School and Campus Safety Enhancements Act, will make the Nation's schools safer by increasing investments in school security. These measures will give school districts and universities resources to address pressing needs in order to keep the Nation's children safe.

The Administration urges the Congress to make the legislation even stronger by adding provisions to keep weapons of war and high-capacity ammunition magazines that facilitate mass killings off the Nation's streets. The Administration also believes the legislation would be improved by a more comprehensive approach to reducing gun violence that includes increased access to mental health services, assistance for schools and others in hiring and training school resource officers, school psychologists, social workers, counselors, and other mental health professionals, and additional resources to help schools put in place comprehensive emergency management plans, create safer and more nurturing school climates that support and reinforce positive behavior, and support children exposed to pervasive violence.

The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to protect the Nation's children, communities, and schools from gun violence.

Barack Obama, Statement of Administration Policy: S. 649 - Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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