Washington, D.C. – Today House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), along with all Republican members of the Judiciary Committee, sent letters to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder demanding answers on the lack of enforcement of our nation’s gun laws. This letter is part of the House Judiciary Committee’s on-going examination of ways to prevent gun violence. Chairman Goodlatte released the following statement:
“Before the President demands that Congress push through legislation to stifle the rights of law abiding citizens, he should take care to enforce the laws that are already on the books.
“According to Department of Justice data, under the Obama Administration, federal weapons prosecutions have fallen to the lowest levels in over a decade. Figures collected by Syracuse University’s TRAC project show that firearms prosecutions peaked at 11,015 under the Bush Administration in 2004 and that the Obama Administration prosecuted approximately only 7,774 firearms cases in 2012. In fact, the Northern District of Illinois, which includes Chicago, is ranked among the lowest in terms of the number of firearms prosecutions, despite a surge in gun-related crimes. In a city like Chicago, which saw 506 murders last year, it is appalling that the US Attorney’s office in that jurisdiction only prosecuted 25 federal firearms cases during 2011.
“In 2010, there were 76,142 denials following the instant background check that takes place every time a firearm is purchased from a federally licensed firearms dealer. Of those, 4,732 denials were referred to field offices for investigation. However, only 62 prosecutions resulted from these actions. A prosecution rate this low is not indicative of a Department of Justice that takes the act of illegally attempting to acquire a firearm seriously.
“We must all be looking for ways to prevent senseless acts of violence and the taking of innocent life but the best place to start would be enforcing the laws that Congress has already enacted.”
The letters were signed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee Chairman Trent Franks (R-AZ), Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), Rep. Steve King (R-IA), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV), Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Rep. George Holding (R-NC), Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA).
Background: This inaction comes from the same Administration that initiated Operation Fast and Furious, which allowed the transfer of at least 2,000 firearms into Mexico and resulted in the death of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. These firearms have been linked to approximately 200 crime scenes in Mexico.