From Tucson, to Aurora, to Oak Creek, Wisc., to Sandy Hook Elementary School, there seems to be a never ending series of mass tragedies at the hands of madmen with guns.
But as New Yorkers know all too well, while these shootings may get the bulk of the news coverage, the gun violence doesn't stop once those cameras go away. The sad fact is that approximately 34 people die every single day across this nation due to gun violence.
In New York City alone, just last week, the NYPD suffered one of its bloodiest nights when three officers suffered gunshot wounds, in two separate crimes, just an hour apart. We are all thankful these heroes are on their way to recovery.
Almost one year ago, NYPD Officer Peter Figoski, the father of four beautiful daughters, was tragically killed in the line of duty.
And I will never forget the faces of the parents of slain 17-year-old honor student Nyasia Pryear-Yard, whom I met just weeks after being sworn in to the Senate.
One thing all of these shootings have in common: the guns used all came up "the Iron pipeline" from out-of-state. In fact, according to the Mayor's office, 85 percent of the guns used in gun crimes in New York City come from out-of-state, and at least 90 percent of these guns are illegal.
As a mother and a lawmaker, I was shocked to learn there is not a single federal law defining gun trafficking in this country. The federal government has an obligation to act to prevent tomorrow's senseless gun deaths by ensuring that guns stay out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill and one important step we must take now is cracking down on the trafficking of illegal guns.
In 2009, I authored and first introduced The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act in the U.S. Senate which I will be re-introducing again this month. This important bill would empower local, state, and federal law enforcement to investigate and prosecute gun traffickers and their entire criminal networks, while protecting responsible, law-abiding gun owners.
By going after corrupt gun dealers, establishing strong penalties and making gun trafficking a federal crime for the very first time -- from the person who buys the gun from the dealer, to the person illegally selling the gun out of the trunk of a car, to the kingpin that organizes the entire network - we can stem the flow of illegal guns that are coming into our city neighborhoods and cities around the country on a daily basis via criminal gun trafficking rings.
Senator Schumer and I have urged Vice President Biden to include The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act in his task force's final list of recommendations, as well as Senator Schumer's Fix Gun Checks Act to ensure that those with criminal records are denied access to guns. I also support other common sense reforms, such as banning assault weapons and the high-capacity clips used to devastating effect in mass shootings that have become all to common in our country.
Our commitment to keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill should not be a Democratic idea or a Republican idea, nor should it be a pro-gun or anti-gun idea... it's simply a common sense reform that the American people expect us to implement to keep them safe. It's my hope that Vice President Biden's task force will include these bills in their final recommendations and that Congress will pass them so we can prevent any future senseless gun deaths.
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