Vice President Joe Biden will deliver remarks today launching a renewed push on gun violence prevention. Biden will emphasize the significant progress made on nearly two dozen executive orders issued by President Obama, while reiterating that there is absolutely no substitute for congressional action.
“Passing common-sense gun safety legislation, including expanding background checks and making gun trafficking a federal crime, remains the single most important step we could take to reduce gun violence,” states a report accompanying Biden’s scheduled press conference, according to USA Today.
One month after the tragic shooting in Newtown, President Obama unveiled a series of executive orders that lifted the ban on federal research dollars from funding studies on gun violence and added greater transparency to the tracking of guns used to commit crimes and seized by authorities, among other things. Biden will announce today that the White House task force has either completed or made significant progress in 21 of the 23 executive orders.
The speech coincides with the release of a new report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) that provides, for the first time, a glimpse at the annual secondary market for guns acquired through theft or loss.
The ATF report, itself the result of one of the 23 executive orders issued by President Obama in January, documents 190,342 firearms reported as lost or stolen in 2012 alone. Of those, more than 16,000 were reported lost or stolen by Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs).
The problems caused by the massive black market for lost and stolen handguns have also been made worse by the NRA, which in 2004 ushered an appropriations rider through Congress that crippled ATF’s ability to require that federally-licensed gun dealers provide timely information about stolen or lost weapons. President Obama has called on Congress to remove the rider for the 2014 appropriations bill.
The NRA’s rider is the subject of a new report issued by the Center for American Progress, which traced the impact of the rider since it’s inception a decade ago. The report finds that the ATF has been unable to inspect even a quarter of the nearly 60,000 federally licensed gun dealers each year, with most dealerships going more than five years in between inspections. As a result, tens of thousands of handguns go missing each year with little to no accountability.
The multi-pronged effort on gun-related issues this week marks the start of a fresh push by the White House and Congressional Democrats to try and get new legislation enacted after falling short in April. In the months since the Senate failed to pass the Manchin-Toomey bill, Senators like Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) have returned to their districts only to find outraged constituents and furious supporters demanding to know why they voted no on a bill that 90 percent of the country supports.