Forty members of the U.S. House of Representatives have sent a letter urging 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.
Congressmen Gerry Connolly of Virginia and Ted Deutch of Florida authored the letter to the House leaders.
â€œGun buybacks have proven successful in communities across the nation,â€ Connolly and Deutch said in a â€œDear Colleagueâ€ to House members. â€œAdding $200 million to the final compromise on the fiscal cliff could remove as many as 1 million guns from our streets.â€
Noting that such programs are supported by law enforcement agencies as a valuable resource for reducing gun violence, the two congressmen said including the gun buyback program in any year-end deal â€œis a simple, immediate step we can take to assure the public we are committed to taking meaningful action.â€
In their letter to the House leaders, Connolly and Deutch said federal financial support to help local communities and states conduct buyback programs could also bolster local economic activity. â€œDistributing 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.â€
â€œThe murder of 20 youngsters and six educators in their classrooms has galvanized the publicâ€™s desire for immediate action, and partnering with the States on a nationwide gun buyback program is a modest, common-sense start,â€ the two congressmen said.
Congressman Gerry Connollyâ€™s 11th Congressional District in Northern Virginia includes the headquarters of the NRA. Six of the victims of the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, including the shooter, were from Connollyâ€™s district. Earlier this week, a column from Connolly on the subject appeared in the New York Times Op-Ed Section.