Congresswoman proposes three-pillar approach to combat “perfect storm” of extremism, hate and gun violence that enabled Orlando shooter; Duckworth proposal would better fund counter-terrorism efforts, secure soft-targets like bars & theaters, prevent terrorists from acquiring firearms & help end hate crimes
SCHAUMBURG–(ENEWSPF)–July 5, 2016. After participating in the historic 25-hour sit-in on the House Floor demanding a vote on legislation to prevent gun violence, Congresswoman and Operation Iraqi Freedom combat Veteran Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) today launched a new effort to improve national security by comprehensively and effectively combating a rapidly-growing and evolving threat to American lives: the melding of terrorism, hateful bigotry and deadly gun violence. The Congresswoman’s three-pronged national security proposal features policies that recognize terror, hate and firearms are often intertwined in national security and law enforcement issues. The solution requires simultaneous and coordinated policy changes to most effectively keep our nation secure and our citizens safe.
“The horrific shooting in Orlando makes clear that we must do much, much more to keep our country and our people safe—and it also reminds us that terrorists use firearms to perpetrate many of their crimes on American soil and abroad,” said Congresswoman Duckworth. “We owe it to the victims to enact a comprehensive and coordinated response that protects Americans from each of these interconnected threats, not just one of them.”
The Duckworth proposal would strengthen national security along three key pillars: preventing attacks before they happen, mitigating the damage of terror and hate incidents and improving law enforcement response capabilities when faced with active shooters. It addresses multiple facets of improving our national response by boosting investment in critical counterterrorism tools and personnel, enhancing federal, state and local law enforcement coordination to address the active shooter threat, and improving our country’s laws to enact safeguards that end access to firearms and powerful weapons of war by those who can’t pass background checks.
Duckworth’s proposal is anchored by legislation she will introduce in the coming days to fully fund the FBI’s counter-terrorism efforts, more effectively prevent and combat hate crimes as well as to provide law enforcement and prosecutors with improved tools to prosecute those who aid terrorists and mass shooters.
Her upcoming Counterterrorism Enhancement Act would enable the FBI to better respond to increasing terror threats and hire hundreds more counterterrorism officials. It would also increase resources available for fighting hate crimes, enhance assistance local law enforcement with active shooter training and response, and increase penalties for criminals that traffic firearms to terrorists. Similar legislation is being led in the Senate by Senators Mikulski (D-MD), Leahy (D-VT), Nelson (D-FL) and Baldwin (D-WI), and the Congresswoman has also called on Speaker Paul Ryan to fund our counter-terrorism efforts in the appropriations bill and bring it before the House for a vote under an open rule.
Duckworth will also introduce legislation to secure so-called “soft” targets that make easy marks for would-be terrorists and mass shooters, such as theme parks, concert, sport and other venues not likely to have high security levels. Her Active Shooter Preparedness and Response Enhancement Act would direct the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide guidance and assist with developing active shooter and mass casualty emergency action and response plans for local governments and non-governmental soft targets.
Duckworth’s national security proposal also includes passing important common-sense gun safety policies to keep Americans safe from gun violence, including enacting:
- Duckworth-Durbin Visa Waiver Program Firearms Clarification Act to prevent foreign nationals who have not been fully vetted by our intelligence community from purchasing firearms while they are in the United States by closing a loophole in the Visa Waiver Program. Normally, visiting foreign nationals traveling with visas to the United States are prohibited from buying or possessing firearms, but travelers from countries admitted to the Visa Waiver Program are excluded from this sensible public safety requirement through a legal technicality—even though terrorists including a 9/11 co-conspirator and “shoe-bomber” Richard Reid entered the country using the program;
- Congresswoman Maloney’s (NY-12) Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2015, which Congresswoman Duckworth helped introduce as an original cosponsor to stop gun trafficking and crack down on straw purchasers, such as the individual who purchased the guns used in the San Bernardino terrorist attack;
- The bipartisan King-Feinstein Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2015, which Congresswoman Duckworth cosponsored and supports to ensure individuals on the terrorist watch-list are not able to purchase weapons legally;
- The bipartisan King-Thompson Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2015, Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s (CA-14) Fix Gun Checks Act and Congressman James Clyburn’s (SC-06) Background Check Completion Act, all of which Congresswoman Duckworth cosponsored and supports passing to institute universal background checks, close the gun show loophole and strengthen the effectiveness of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System;
- Congressman David Cicilline’s (RI-01) Assault Weapons Ban of 2015, which Congresswoman Duckworth proudly joined to introduce as an original cosponsor to prevent weapons more suited for war from being sold to civilians;
- Congresswoman Esty’s (CT-05) Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, which Congresswoman Duckworth cosponsored and supports passing to limit sales of high-capacity magazines that can increase the number of people an active shooter can kill or injure; and
- Congressman David Cicilline’s (RI-01) Fire Sale Loophole Closing Act and Congressman Gallego’s (AZ-07) Good Neighbor Gun Dealer Act, both of which Congresswoman Duckworth cosponsored and supports passing to target unscrupulous firearms dealers who arm potential terrorists and criminals, and reward honest licensed sellers who follow the rules.
Congresswoman Duckworth was one of the first Army women to fly Black Hawk helicopter combat missions in Iraq. She lost her legs and partial use of her right arm after her Black Hawk was hit by an RPG, and she was awarded a Purple Heart. She currently serves as the only member of the Illinois Congressional Delegation on the Armed Services Committee.