Stopping Gun Violence;  Support a Permanent Renewal of The Military-Style Assault Weapons Ban

PASSAGE OF S. 150 / H.R. 437 WILL ALSO BAN HIGH CAPACITY MILITARY-STYLE BULLET CLIPS

All-too easy access to guns and the resulting gun violence are a grave problem in the United States today.  In addition to the very high profile and horrific incidents in the towns of Newtown, Columbine, Aurora and Blacksburg, this is especially true in urban and distressed neighborhoods and communities of color.  The leading cause of death among African American teens ages 15 to 19 in 2008 and 2009 was gun related homicide.  African American children and teens accounted for 45 percent of all child and teen gun deaths in 2008 and 2009, while representing only 15 percent of the total child population.  Black males ages 15-19 were eight times as likely as White males of the same age and two-and-a-half times as likely as their Hispanic peers to be killed in gun related homicides in 2009.  Current estimates are that there are 270 million guns held by civilians in the United States today.  That means there are almost 90 firearms for every 100 men, women and children in the U.S. today.

Furthermore, in 2003, the NAACP sued the gun industry, establishing that the levels of handgun violence and the presence of illegal guns in New York created a public nuisance.  In his decision in that lawsuit, Judge Jack B. Weinstein found that, “the NAACP had proven the existence of a public nuisance by clear and convincing evidence, and that the NAACP "has demonstrated the great harm done to the New York public by the use and threat of use of illegally available handguns in urban communities.”

Given these figures, as well as the disproportionate damage gun violence is having on communities of color, the NAACP has long advocated for a number of sane, sensible gun laws which will do a lot to eliminate the damage, destruction and death caused by gun violence.   Specifically, in 2004, we strongly advocated for a reauthorization of the assault weapons ban, which expired that year.   Sadly, our calls went unanswered, the ban was not renewed, and since the expiration of the assault weapons ban in 2004, the number of shootings per year in which an assault weapon was used has doubled, and the number of victims per year has nearly tripled. 

With the December, 2012, tragedy in Newtown, CT., momentum for a renewal and improvement of the assault weapons ban has grown.  The NAACP strongly supports S. 150 / H.R. 437, which would implement a permanent ban on the sale, transfer, importation, and manufacturing of assault weapons as well as large-capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Military-style assault weapons have no place in civil society.  They do not belong in our streets or our neighborhoods and the ban should clearly be implemented and made permanent. 

THE NAACP STRONGLY SUPPORTS S. 150 / H.R. 437 AND URGES THE IMMEDIATE ENACTMENT OF THIS IMPORTANT LEGISLATION

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