NEW YORK, NY – Amidst an outbreak of gun violence in Brooklyn and throughout many parts of New York City, including the tragic shooting of Carey Gabay, a 43-year-old counsel to Governor Cuomo, U.S. Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) and Yvette Clarke (NY-09) today gathered on the steps of city hall to outline federal action that should be taken.
The centerpiece of their proposal is increased funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which is the federal agency charged with enforcing our nation’s gun laws and combating illegal gun trafficking into states like New York. The upcoming fiscal year begins on October 1. Over the next few weeks Congress must fund the federal government, or it will shut down. In this regard, Reps. Clarke and Jeffries have urged President Obama to draw a line in the sand and press Congress to fully fund the ATF.
Rep. Jeffries, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, stated: “House Republicans want a fake fight over defunding Planned Parenthood. We’re going to give them a real fight with respect to fully funding our nation’s gun violence prevention efforts.”
On Friday, Reps. Jeffries and Clarke wrote to President Obama, asking him to help secure an additional $60 million above and beyond what is allocated in the House spending bill for the ATF. This amount is necessary in order to fully fund the agency as it addresses the gun violence epidemic in America.
The letter states in part:
“Over the years, Congress has rarely provided the ATF with adequate resources. That must end. In approximately three weeks, we must fund the government and all of its agencies for the next fiscal year. It is time to bring the ATF back to life so it can vigorously combat gun violence in America”
Rep. Clarke stated: “We cannot allow the public health crisis of gun violence to continue. Every year, the United States has more than 30,000 preventable deaths as a result of guns, deaths that real limits on the trafficking of illegal guns would substantially reduce. Therefore, Congressman Jeffries and I have asked President Obama to request additional resources for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives that would allow the agency to expand enforcement of existing laws that are intended to keep illegal guns away from our communities.”
America has five percent of the world’s population, but fifty percent of the world’s guns. It is estimated that there are more than 285 million guns in the United States today. These guns are not manufactured in New York City, but many are illegally trafficked into Brooklyn and other boroughs. The ATF is the federal agency charged with stopping this illicit activity.
Rep. Jeffries added: “For years, Congress has failed to adequately fund the ATF. It is time for that to change. We are enlisting the support of President Obama in this effort, and we will not rest until the ATF has what it needs to combat illegal gun trafficking.”
In conclusion, the letter to President Obama stated:
“Our country cannot continue down the path of careening from one tragic incident of gun violence to another, while Congress turns a blind eye to the problem. It is time we draw a line in the sand. We can begin by demanding that Congress fully fund the ATF.”
In addition to this budget battle, Reps. Clarke and Jeffries will also press to bring President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative to Brooklyn as part of an ongoing effort to provide young people with a positive alternative to the perils of the streets.