U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Matteson, has introduced two gun bills: H.R. 2464, The Improving Gun Safety Standards Act, and H.R. 2465, The Recognizing Gun Violence as a Public Health Emergency Act.
The congresswoman made gun violence the cornerstone of her campaign this year.
The Improving Gun Safety Standards Act would amend the Consumer Product Safety Act to remove the exclusion of pistols, revolvers and other firearms from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s definition of “consumer product,” thereby allowing the CPSC to issue safety standards for guns and ammunition.
The CPSC has jurisdiction over more than 15,000 kinds of consumer products used in and around the home, yet guns are virtually the only consumer product not regulated for health and safety, Kelly pointed out. This is the case despite the fact that more than 31,000 men, women and children die annually from gunshot wounds in the United States, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
The Recognizing Gun Violence as a Public Health Emergency Act would require the U.S. surgeon general to submit to Congress an annual report on the effects of gun violence on the public’s health. A growing body of research suggests that gun violence is a public health epidemic and that repeated exposure to shootings in urban areas, such as Chicago, is akin to the trauma suffered by soldiers in war zones. This legislation would examine gun violence in America as a public health threat, investigating the physical, emotional, societal and economic impact of the epidemic.
“These bills are building blocks of comprehensive gun reform, legislation that aims to address gun violence at its roots and offer a way forward for the national gun debate,” Kelly said in a prepared statement. “Congress has a duty to protect Americans from gun violence and to seek ways to make our communities safer. I believe that enforcing gun safety standards and taking an honest assessment of the cumulative impact of gun violence is a positive step toward doing that.”
Kelly’s legislation has been co-sponsored by several of her House colleagues, including U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Chicago.
“This type of legislation will move our country forward and put us on the road to comprehensive gun legislation,” Rush said in a prepared statement. "I implore Congress to immediately enact both bills to begin the process in slowing the flow of firearms into our cities and this nation.
“I am proud to support Congresswoman Kelly in furthering the longtime work of many, including myself, in keeping this issue at the forefront of our nation’s discussion," Rush said. "In order to protect our youth who experience the daily devastating impact of gun violence in communities across this country, we must remain committed to legislation that will save all American families.”