House Oversight Committee requests documents about gun dealers

The House Oversight Committee, concerned about the involvement of guns purchased from licensed gun dealers in violent crimes, is asking the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for documents to help lawmakers investigate the issue.

Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings sent a letter to Gina Lombardo, acting deputy director of ATF, citing the recent massacres in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The committee is seeking information about gun dealers who sell large numbers of guns used in crimes, including homicide.

He wrote that “[m]any guns involved in crimes are sold by federal firearms licensees to straw purchasers or unlicensed sellers who then transfer guns to people who commit violent crimes,” and Cummings added that the committee is “gravely concerned” that “current law enforcement efforts are not adequately addressing the crisis”

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The letter cites an ATF study from 2000 which found that 1% of gun dealers were linked to 60% of guns recovered at crime scenes.

“In 2017, nearly 40,000 Americans died from guns — the highest number in at least 50 years — including nearly 15,000 homicides,” the letter said. “Americans are now ten times more likely to be killed by guns than Americans in other developed nations.”

Cummings’ letter comes as congressional leaders have begun discussions about gun control legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that he is not calling the Senate back to Washington for an emergency session to address recent mass shootings, but gun control measures will be on the table when Congress reconvenes in September.

McConnell specifically mentioned background checks, a measure that has failed to gain much ground in the Senate and is strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association.

In a tweet on Friday morning, President Trump confirmed that congressional leaders were holding “serious discussions” regarding background checks.

“Serious discussions are taking place between House and Senate leadership on meaningful Background Checks. I have also been speaking to the NRA, and others, so that their very strong views can be fully represented and respected,” Mr. Trump said in the first of two tweets.

“Guns should not be placed in the hands of … mentally ill or deranged people. I am the biggest Second Amendment person there is, but we all must work together for the good and safety of our Country. Common sense things can be done that are good for everyone!” the president continued.

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