President Obama is attracting a lot of attention today for a sweeping gun control package that would ban assault weapons, place limits on high-capacity magazines, and expand background checks.
But Rhode Island Congressman James Langevin, who was left a quadriplegic after he was shot in a gun accident at age 16, is making a push of his own in the wake of the Newtown shootings.
He's made television appearances and written an op-ed that appeared in the Providence Journal. He's also proposed legislation he calls "The Crackdown on Deadbeat Gun Dealers Act."
Langevin cites data from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
showing that 60 percent of the guns used in crimes can be traced to one
percent of gun dealers. The Brady Campaign also found that gun dealers
"lose" 82 firearms a day - more than 30,000 per year. But current law only
allows the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to inspect dealers' recordkeeping once per year.
Langevin's bill would allow ATF to conduct three inspections of gun dealers' recordkeeping per year. It would also increase the penalties for knowingly misrepresenting any facts about a firearm sale. And it would allow the Attorney General to suspend a dealer's license and impose civil penalties for any firearms violations, including a failure to maintain secure gun storage.
The legislation faces long odds in the Republican-controlled House, of course. But Democrats are counting on popular outrage over the Newtown shootings to power the strongest gun control push in a generation.
They're also looking to apply a little political pressure of their own. Langevin and four other House Democrats - Congressman David Cicilline (RI), Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (NY), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT), and Congressman Keith Ellison (MN) - are urging fellow Democrats to bring someone impacted by gun violence to President Obama's State of the Union address next month.