Langevin Announces Gun Safety Agenda

Apr 8, 2002

(Warwick, R.I.)–At the Warwick Police shooting range this afternoon, Congressman Jim Langevin announced three legislative proposals he has introduced that would provide additional safety and security for the general public and firearm owners.

 In 1999, the Centers for Disease Control reported that over 820 people were killed in the United States by accidental discharges of firearms and many more were injured.

 “Shooting accidents occur far too often due to the unknown presence of a bullet in a firearm’s chamber,” said Congressman Jim Langevin.  “We must make use of technology like chamber load indicators that can prevent these mistakes from happening.  Furthermore, we need to ensure that gun dealers are keeping accurate records of firearms sales and impose stricter penalties for violations." 

 Langevin, himself a victim of an accidental shooting that left him a C-5/6 quadriplegic, has introduced the Accidental Shooting Prevention Act.  This legislation requires gun manufacturers to include chamber load indicators and magazine disconnect mechanisms on all firearms with removable magazines manufactured after 2005.  A chamber load indicator alerts the handler of a firearm when a bullet is in the chamber, while a magazine-disconnect mechanism prevents a gun from being fired when its ammunition magazine is removed, even if there is a round in the chamber.

 Langevin also announced legislation he is introducing, the Gun Safety Incentive Act, which would provide tax credits to firearm manufacturers who package guns with chamber load indicators.

 To address gun dealer record-keeping abuses, Langevin has also introduced the Crackdown on Deadbeat Gun Dealers Act.  According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), in 1998, over 50 percent of the firearms used in crimes nationwide were traced to just 1.2 percent of the nation’s gun dealers.  Through traces of guns used in crimes, the ATF can study why such a large number of firearms from this small proportion of dealers are used illegally and develop investigative strategies to address this growing problem.

 The Crackdown on Deadbeat Gun Dealers Act would increase the permitted number of ATF inspections of firearms dealers from one to three per year; raise the maximum criminal penalty from 5 to 10 years for dealers who knowingly violate the law by committing serious record-keeping offenses that can hinder tracing crime guns; and authorize the ATF to suspend a firearms license after notice and the opportunity for a hearing for violations of the Gun Control Act of 1968.

 Joining Congressman Langevin were Warwick Police Major Tom Carmody and retired Cranston Police Captain Richard Barber, who demonstrated different types of chamber load indicators.

 At the age of sixteen, Congressman Langevin was left paralyzed when a police officer’s gun accidentally discharged and severed his spine.  Had the gun involved in Langevin’s accident been equipped with a chamber load indicator, the officer would have known the firearm was loaded and the accident could have been avoided.