A letter co-written by Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-11th), and signed by 40 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, urges Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to support an immediate $200 million gun buyback program in any end-of-the-year fiscal cliff deal.
Connolly, whose district includes the national headquarters for the NRA, and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida authored the letter to the House leaders.
“Gun buybacks have proven successful in communities across the nation,” Connolly and Deutch said in a “Dear Colleague” to House members. “Adding $200 million to the final compromise on the fiscal cliff could remove as many as one million guns from our streets.”
Including the gun buyback program as a way to reduce gun violence, the congressmen said including it in any year-end deal “is a simple, immediate step we can take to assure the public we are committed to taking meaningful action.”
Connolly and Deutch said federal financial support to help local communities and states conduct buyback programs could also bolster local economic activity. “Distributing funding to the states to run buyback programs using prepaid debit cards with a three-month expiration date could provide a jolt to local economies that have stagnated in the wake of the recession and concerns over the fiscal cliff.”
“The murder of 20 youngsters and six educators in their classrooms has galvanized the public’s desire for immediate action, and partnering with the states on a nationwide gun buyback program is a modest, common-sense start,” the two congressmen said.
It's not certain if there is enough support on Capitol Hill for any new gun laws. Although President Obama called for Congress to show “courage” to consider new gun-control laws, he faces challenges with "members of his own party who have a history of cowering from the gun debate," the National Journal points out.