Congresswoman Robin Kelly Statement on the Expansion of the Civil Marksmanship Program in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act

WASHINGTON, DC –(ENEWSPF)—May 15, 2015. Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL) issued the following statement on the Expansion of the Civil Marksmanship Program in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA): 

This week, another innocent life was taken in my district when 21-year old Demetrius Southland of Dolton, Illinois went out to walk his dog and became a victim of senseless gun violence.  An everyday activity ending in tragedy is an all too common occurrence in neighborhoods across America.  And yet the unrelenting call for an end to senseless violence seems to be falling on deaf ears in Congress. 

I’m appalled that House Republicans included in the National Defense Authorization Act an irresponsible provision that would expand the definition of ‘firearm’ under the Civilian Marksmanship Program to include handguns.  The Civilian Marksmanship Program was meant to promote rifle skills and safety. By broadening the scope of the CMP, Congress stands to allow for the transfer of over 10,000 additional handguns onto our streets.  What’s worse is that the CMP is not a federally licensed firearm dealer, meaning not a single one of the 10,000 future purchasers will have to undergo a background check before obtaining their weapon. 

This week I joined four of my Congressional colleagues to offer an Amendment to the NDAA to strike the provision that includes handguns in the Civilian Marksmanship Program.  The NDAA is intended to support our national defense.  It should not be used as a vehicle to manipulate domestic gun policy.  Even the U.S. Army agreed and opposed this provision, expressing concern about the potential negative impact on public safety.

Sadly, House Republicans chose to ignore these reasonable concerns and refused to allow a vote on my amendment on the House floor.

With gun killings on pace to be the primary cause of death for young people 25 and under, the very future of our nation is at stake. I refuse to sit by and watch gun violence rob us of a generation. It’s time for our country to stop pursuing bad gun policies and start instituting common sense gun reforms to save lives.