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									Congress of the United States
Maslymgttm, B€ 20515
Help Close the Gun Show Loophole - in Memory of the
Shooting Massacres at Virginia Tech and Columbine High School
April 15th, 2010
Dear Colleague,
On April 16, 2007, 32 students and faculty were shot and killed by Seung-Hui Cho on the
campus of Virginia Tech. Twenty-five other students and faculty were wounded that day in the
nation's worst mass shooting. Eleven years ago, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12
classmates and one teacher at Columbine High School. There have been over 30 fatal shootings
on school and university campuses since 1990.
The Virginia Tech murderer had been diagnosed with serious mental health problems, yet he was
able to buy guns because his mental health status had not been reported to the federal
background check system for gun purchasers. Fortunately, the State of Virginia and the federal
government have made great strides in the past few years to ensure that those critical mental
health records are included in the federal NICS background check system.
April 20th will mark the 11th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in
Colorado. Although we still struggle to explain the motivations of the students who shot their
classmates and teacher on that tragic day, one thing has always been clear: all four of the deadly
weapons used that day were purchased from private sellers at gun shows. Unfortunately, in the
decade since Columbine, the federal government has done nothing to make it tougher for felons,
those with mental health problems or domestic violence convictions to purchase weapons at gun
shows.
In fact, at gun shows in Virginia and elsewhere today, Seung-Hui Cho, Eric Harris and Dylan
Klebold could still buy guns from a wide array of "private sellers" without undergoing a
background check.fll Fortunately, Colorado has changed their laws since 1997, and background
checks are now required at gun shows in that state.
The Government Accountability Office recently noted that "individuals can also purchase guns
at gun shows from other individuals making sales from their private collections. These private
sales require no background checks of the purchaser and require no record be made or kept of the
sale."[21
We hope you will join us in honoring the victims in these shootings by cosponsoring the "Gun
Show Loophole Closing Act of 2009" (H.R. 2324). We, along with 90 other bipartisan
cosponsors, support background checks at gun shows nationwide. We know this can prevent
more school shootings. And it can keep our communities safer.
We also know that gun traffickers routinely patronize gun shows and resell the weapons in states
with stronger gun laws. In fact, an ATF report found that approximately 30 percent of guns
illegally trafficked were tied to gun shows. These handguns and semi-automatic rifles routinely
PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER
are recovered at crime scenes halfway across the country, and, with increasing frequency, in
Mexico.
It is time for Congress to act. And the American people are on our side. In fact, Republican
pollster Frank Luntz found that 69 percent of NRA gun owners and 85 percent of non-NRA gun
owners support closing the loophole.£3] We know that the majority of gun owners are law-
abiding citizens who dutifully pass background checks and use their firearms in a responsible
fashion. They know their lives, and their families' lives, are put at risk by guns purchased at gun
shows by those who could never pass a background check at a neighborhood gun store.
We urge you to join us in co-sponsoring H.R. 2324, the "Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of
2009." This critical bill was introduced last May by Representatives Castle (R-DE), Gerry
Connolly (D-VA), Steve Israel (D-NY), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), and
Chris Smith (R-NJ). Please contact Zack Fields with Rep. Connolly at
zack.fields@,mail.house. gov if you have any questions about this legislation.
Gerald E. Connolly
Jim Moran
8th District, Virginia
Bobby Scott
11th District, Virginia
3rd District, Virginia

								
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