After her election on Tuesday, April 9, 2013, Kelly has not looked back, and has continued to work tirelessly to eliminate gun violence and to bring about “common sense” gun legislation. Kelly today released “The 2014 Kelly Report on Gun Violence in America,” the first-ever Congressional analysis of the nation’s gun violence epidemic that offers a blueprint for ending the crisis, reported the Chicago Sun Times.
As a symbolic act, Rep. Kelly “will no longer stand up with colleagues in the House chamber offering a moment of silence for the latest victims of gun violence because that symbolic act, she has concluded, just offers cover to lawmakers who block votes on any gun bills,” reported Chicago Sun Times political reporter Lynn Sweet.
Rep. Kelly wants actions, not going through the motions. When she decided to run in 2012 for the Congressional seat vacated by the resignation of former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., she made a decision to go is “big” on an issue that is important to her and important to the voters in the Illinois’ 2nd Congressional district. She was recently interviewed on MSNBC to discuss the issue of “gun control” and reducing gun violence, with “common sense” gun reform.
“Gun control” was the issue then; it is the “big” issue now, as tragedies in Tucson, Ariz.; in Aurora, Colo.; and in Newtown, Conn. — and not to mention daily life in Chicago, becomes not just a problem, but also an epidemic. “Gun control” is change that must come.
The “Kelly Report” brings together members of Congress, academics and gun reform advocates to examine the root causes and impact of gun violence in America and provide a comprehensive set of legislative and policy recommendations to stop it.
The contributors to the report include Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel told the National White House Examiner, saying, “I applaud Congresswoman Kelly’s work to keep Congress and our country focused on the issue of guns in America, because illegal guns are a serious driver of violence. While Chicago has seen historic reductions in crime and violence over the past year and a half, we all know there’s much more work to be done and getting illegal guns off the streets is critical to our efforts.”
Emanuel went on, “As a city, we are putting more police on the street, investing in prevention programs youth, getting more guns, drugs and gangs off the street, and partnering closely with community leaders and residents. Our goal is to ensure that every person, in every community, feels the same sense of safety and has access to a quality education, and no one will rest until that goal is achieved.”
Colleen Daley, Executive Director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence told Allvoices.com, “As the nations oldest and largest statewide organisation in the country working to reduce death and injury caused by firearms, we are thrilled to be a part of Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s efforts to push for common sense solutions that will help keep our communities safe gun violence.”
Four women formed the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence under the name “Committee for Handgun Control” in 1973: Lessie Davison, Patricia Koldyke, Florence McMillan and Susan Sullivan. The four women were appalled by the rising tide of handgun violence in Chicago and began looking for a solution to the problem.
In 1980, the group initiated the annual Abraham Lincoln Awards to honor public officials and citizen advocates who possessed the courage to take a strong stance against gun violence.
That passion continues with Daley at its helm, and her passion for passage of “common sense” gun reform. “There are on average 1,000 people killed by guns each year here in Illinois and a disproportionate amount of them are children. Gun violence is an epidemic and we need everyone working at all levels to combat the problem.”
Daley praised Kelly and all that the “The 2014 Kelly Report on Gun Violence in America” represents. “Congresswoman Kelly has been a leader on his issue since before she was elected to Congress and we commend her for not providing lip service – instead ‘real’ common sense solutions that will help keep our communities safe.”
Rep. Kelly is leading a meeting today in Washington, D.C., between contributors and members of Congress to discuss next steps in promoting the report’s legislative proposals in Congress.
“America has a gun violence problem. It’s time that we face it head on by instituting common sense gun reforms to save lives,” Rep. Kelly said. “We can strike the right balance between protecting the Second Amendment and promoting public safety by keeping guns out of the wrong hands. The Kelly Report strikes this balance.”
Among the recommendations, the report proposes establishing firearm restraining orders to allow the courts to take a firearm away from someone who is a danger to themselves or others, investing in smart gun technologies to prevent stolen guns from being used to commit crimes and repealing gun manufacturers’ immunity to allow gun violence victims to sue for damages.
Another key recommendation of the report is expanding law enforcement’s ability to track and trace firearms to crackdown on gun trafficking and straw purchases.
Today, Rep. Kelly introduced alongside Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) H.R. 4946, The Crime Gun Tracing Act, which incentivizes law enforcement agencies to report 100 percent of their recovered crime guns to the National Tracing Center to better target gun trafficking operations and solve violent gun crimes. Rep. Kelly’s bill is the House companion to Sen. Durbin’s S. 1337 bill.
“Communities in Chicago and across the nation know all too well the heavy and continuing toll of gun violence, which claims over 30,000 American lives every year. I commend Representative Kelly for producing today’s report, which includes commonsense solutions to keep guns out of the hands of criminals while protecting the rights of law abiding citizens,” Durbin said. “I am particularly glad to join with her in sponsoring legislation to encourage law enforcement to trace every single gun recovered in a crime. Crime gun tracing is free, it is easy, and it is one of the most powerful tools that law enforcement has to solve crimes and identify gun trafficking networks.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said the “Kelly Report” demonstrates the need for Congress to take quick action to reduce gun violence across the country.
“Congresswoman Kelly has quickly risen in the Congress to be a national leader and relentless advocate for victims of gun violence in Chicago and across the country,” said Leader Pelosi. “The Kelly Report is clear: it is long past time for Congress to take strong, concrete steps to reduce gun violence in our homes, schools, neighborhoods, and communities. It is our responsibility as public servants to keep the public safe, and taking strong action is the least we can do to honor the lives of those lost.”
Rep. Thompson, chair of the House Gun Violence Task Force, thanked Congresswoman Kelly for her report.
“Our House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force is working everyday to enact a comprehensive set of policies that are designed to reduce gun violence while respecting the Second Amendment Rights of law-abiding Americans,” said Chairman Thompson. “I thank Congresswoman Kelly for her report, and I look forward continuing to work with her and members of our task force on commonsense gun violence prevention legislation.”
Rep. Kelly’s web page reported that the following were involved in the report:
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Newtown Action Alliance, NAACP, National Urban League, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Center for American Progress, Duke University, University of Chicago Crime Lab, Harvard University School of Public Health and John Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health also contributed to the report.
“I’d like to thank all of the contributors for the tremendous work in this report. This coalition is so vital to the gun reform movement because it’s going to take all of us – elected officials, policymakers, community leaders – working together to stop the bloodshed,” Rep. Kelly said. “I encourage my colleagues in Congress to work with us to chart a new course for a better, safer America.”
To read the complete report, click here at The 2014 Kelly Report on Gun Violence in America.