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DC – GUN POLITICS – Simultaneous Senate-House legislation calls for modernization of ATF, gun safety

A joint effort from U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) produced the ATF Improvement and Modernization (AIM) Act this week to revamp the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and bolster national gun safety efforts. The legislation would end what its proponents have dubbed the hamstringing of the department. It would do this by ending certain statutory restrictions on the ATF and instead of making it easier for the department to collaborate with other agencies to address violent crime, crackdown harder and more effectively on dealers, block advanced weaponry from public use and allow the ATF to make more data public. Beyer and Van Hollen gained the support of numerous gun safety organizations, such as Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, Brady United Against Gun Violence, March for Our Lives, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence. “Whether it’s the daily toll of violence that plagues our neighborhoods or the mass shootings that have wreaked havoc on their communities, it’s clear that we must take action to stop gun violence in our country,” Van Hollen said. “For too long, barriers erected by gun-industry hardliners have hampered ATF’s ability to crack down on illegal gun trafficking and the small number of reckless gun dealers who are responsible for selling most of the guns that fall into dangerous hands. We must eliminate those obstacles so ATF can truly meet its public safety mission and reduce gun violence. This commonsense legislation puts forward sweeping changes that will help ATF – and our country – tackle the gun violence epidemic.” More specifically, the AIM act would allow for things like a national centralized firearm database to allow law enforcement to respond more quickly to gun crimes. Currently, every trace request must go through laborious paper and microfiche records. Among many other things, background check information could be held for more than 24 hours, multiple inspections of dealers could be conducted per year, the standard of proof for revoking sellers’ licenses for breaking the law would be lowered, and the ATF would finally be able to make trace data available to the public for research and accountability purposes.  [view source]


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