U.S. Representative Rush re-introduces “Blair’s Bill”
CONTACT: Rev. Stanley Watkins
(202) 225-4372 office
WASHINGTON — Today U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) introduced H.R. 6680, the Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2012, legislation aimed at establishing a nationwide system for prohibiting unlicensed gun-ownership and granting the U.S. Attorney General broad authority over the program.
Specifically upon enactment into law, “Blair’s Bill” would: (1) protect the public against the unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with the unrecorded sale or transfer of qualifying firearms to criminals and youth; (2) ensure that owners of qualifying firearms are knowledgeable in the safe use, handling, and storage of those firearms; (3) restrict the availability of qualifying firearms to criminals, youth, and other persons prohibited by Federal law from receiving firearms; and (4) facilitate the tracing of qualifying firearms used in crime by Federal and State law enforcement agencies.
Rush, a dean of the Illinois Congressional delegation, first introduced this legislation in 2007 and subsequently re-introduced it in 2009 after Blair Holt, a Chicago Julian High School honor student, was gunned down while riding home from school on a crowded public transit bus. A teenager, seeking a rival gang member, boarded the bus and opened fire with a .40 caliber handgun. He missed his intended target, instead striking Blair and two other female classmates. Video footage of the assault shows that seconds before he was fatally hit in the abdomen, Blair had pushed the female friend next to him down into the seat and shielded her body with his own. In an instant, this brave young man, the son of a police officer and a firefighter, sacrificed his life to save another.
Last Friday’s senseless tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut only served as yet another wake up call to this nation to address the issue of guns and gun violence besieging the country. “It is becoming far too common in America to hear news reports of children being gunned down, Rush declared, who lost his son Huey to gun violence in 1999. “Whether on the South Side of Chicago, Sandy Hook Elementary School, or anywhere else in the United States, children in particular and all of our citizens should be free to live in a safe and nurturing environment.”
“Blair’s Bill” will assist law enforcement in tracking the flow of guns and require those who possess guns to be trained in gun safety, handling, and storage. While the gun lobby will attack this bill for restricting the availability of guns, Rush firmly believes that all Americans understand the need to implement a common sense federal law that will inform law enforcement of where the guns are and who possesses them.
This bill will implement the same type of system that we have in place for licensing drivers and registering cars. No sensible individual can argue with the fact that with over 200 million guns in the United States, we need a uniform system to keep track of these weapons. Mayors and law enforcement officials across the country have been calling for this type of legislation for years and I hope that we will be successful in making Blair’s Bill federal law.