February 5, 2019
The Honorable Jerrold Nadler
Chairman, House Committee on the Judiciary
2132 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Re: Prosecutors’ Support for H.R. 8
Dear Congressman Nadler:
We are the co-chairs of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence (PAGV), an independent, non-partisan coalition of prosecutors from across the country that identifies and promotes prosecutorial, legislative, and policy solutions to gun violence. As individuals sworn to uphold the law and ensure the safety of our communities, we write in strong support of the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. As prosecutors, we understand the importance of commonsense federal legislation that could prevent gun violence and save lives. A majority of our members support universal background checks.
The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 would require a background check on all gun sales and transfers with reasonable, limited exceptions, including guns for hunting and target shooting, guns given as gifts to family members, and guns provided for emergency self-defense. It would close dangerous existing loopholes in federal law that enable people who are prohibited from possessing firearms—including those with felony convictions, domestic violence abusers, fugitives, and people with mental illness—from obtaining them from unlicensed sellers by requiring the unlicensed sellers to meet buyers at a licensed gun dealer, who would perform the background check.
Next week, our organization will be gathering in Houston for its eighth national conference. In 2015 in that very county, a man murdered eight people in their home: his ex-girlfriend, her six children, and the father of five of the children. He used a firearm he obtained from a stranger he met online, in spite of his extensive prior criminal history that should have barred him from obtaining the weapon if a background check had been conducted.
As a country, we need to make it more difficult for dangerous criminals to obtain deadly weapons without a background check. Lives depend upon it, and this legislation could prevent massacres like the one in Harris County, as well as in our diverse
jurisdictions around the country. We join bipartisan voices around the nation in strongly supporting H.R. 8.
Michael N. Feuer, Los Angeles City Attorney, Co-Chair
Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Manhattan District Attorney, Co-Chair