WHEREAS, the NAACP has a long and consistent policy in support of initiatives to end gun violence; and
WHEREAS, there are currently almost 200 million privately owned firearms in the United States; and
WHEREAS, NAACP-supported initiatives would make it more difficult for people with questionable motives or diminished mental capacity to obtain firearms, both legally and illegally; and
WHEREAS, it is still much too easy for people with questionable motives or diminished mental capacity to obtain guns, either through legal or illegal means; and
WHEREAS, gun violence continues to have a disparate impact on African American communities; although African Americans make up about 14% of the US population, 51% of all gun homicides are African Americans; and
WHEREAS, African Americans have a gun homicide rate more than 4 times the national average; and
WHEREAS, gun violence has also had a tremendous impact on the youth of America; in 2004, nearly 8 children and teenagers, ages 19 and under, were killed with guns each and every day; and
WHEREAS, gun violence also comes with a very high fiscal cost to the taxpayers of the United States; and
WHEREAS, the average total cost of one gun crime can be as high as $1.79 million, including medical treatment and the prosecution and imprisonment of the shooter; and
WHEREAS, the medical costs of gun violence put a terrible burden on health service providers and governments. When indirect costs of gun violence - loss of productivity, mental health treatment and rehabilitation, legal and judicial costs - are figured in, gun violence costs the US over $100 billion annually; and
WHEREAS, over 80% of the economic costs of treating firearm injuries are paid for by taxpayer dollars because the victims have no health insurance; and
WHEREAS, the assault weapons ban, which was signed into law in 1994, expired in September 2004; and
WHEREAS, as a result of inaction by the US House of Representatives and the President, assault weapons are again flooding our streets and neighborhoods and are being used to inflict the maximum amount of damage to lives and property with a minimal amount of energy on the part of the criminal; and
WHEREAS, the 1994 law prohibits the manufacture, sale, and importation of new military-style semi-automatic assault weapons and rapid-fire ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds; and
WHEREAS, because of the extreme threat assault weapons posed to police officers and public safety, the struggle for the ban was led by the American law enforcement community; and
WHEREAS, the threat still exists: a 2003 study showed that almost 20% of the 211 law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty between Jan. 1, 1998 and Dec. 31, 2001 were killed with assault weapons.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP continues to support safe, sane, and sensible gun safety legislative initiatives which would make it harder for people to obtain firearms, either through legal or illegal methods; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP will support the reinstatement of the 1994 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, with a provision that makes it permanent.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP advocate to enact laws and/or strengthen existing state and federal laws aimed at those persons or interests that manufacture, sell, and distribute handguns and assault weapons within American communities.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP advocates a ban on the importation of handguns or of parts that are assembled into handguns in this country.