Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson is at the White House this morning, meeting with other national law enforcement leaders and President Obama regarding the President's executive actions designed to reduce gun violence.
Johnson is the chairman of the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence; he also represents the Major Cities Chiefs Association.
The Partnership and Johnson long have supported measures designed to keep firearms out of the hands of those not legally entitled to possess them, including stronger background check processes, ensuring that those engaged in the firearms sales business follow the rules that apply to them and additional resources for agencies responsible for enforcing gun laws.
Details of the President's executive action are provided on the White House blog.
Speaking on behalf of the Partnership, Johnson said that the President's actions provide clarity on existing laws, prioritize enforcement of gun crimes, provide additional resources to the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and increase mental health treatment and reporting about people with mental health issues who are prohibited from gun possession.
"These are reasonable actions that will help protect our communities at a time of tremendous concern about gun violence and terrorism," Johnson said, adding that "none of these measures interfere with lawful gun ownership."
Text of announcement by National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence:
WASHINGTON — Leaders of the nation’s major national law enforcement leadership organizations today participated in a meeting with President Obama where he announced and discussed a series of concrete actions designed to reduce gun violence, including measures to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are not legally entitled to possess them.
The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence (the Partnership), comprised of national law enforcement leadership organizations, is pleased to see these vitally important actions move forward, which will enhance public safety and support law enforcement’s efforts to reduce gun violence.
“These critical enforcement measures will strengthen existing background check processes, ensure that those who are engaged in the business of firearm sales follow the rules that gun dealers are required to follow, and provide law enforcement increased support by better resourcing the agencies charged with enforcing gun laws,” said Chief Jim Johnson of the Baltimore County (MD) Police Department, who represents the Major Cities Chiefs Association and serves as the Chairperson for the Partnership.
Many of the steps announced by the President this week have long been a part of the Partnership’s policy agenda and are consistent with its statement of principles. “These very reasonable enforcement actions will better protect all of our communities at a time of heightened concerns about gun violence and about terrorism, following the San Bernardino incident,” said Johnson, who added, “It is vital that everyone understand how critical these measures are to the safety of our communities, and that none of these measures adversely impact lawful gun ownership.”
“The President’s actions to provide clarity on existing gun laws, prioritize enforcement of gun crimes, strengthen the NICS system by addressing the gap in mental health and other disqualifying records, and his allocation of greater resources to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for NICS system improvements and to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for additional agents and investigators will all make our communities safer,” said Johnson.
The Partnership has long stressed the vital role that ATF plays in enforcing gun laws and reducing gun violence, and has urged that ATF be better resourced to carry out its vital mission as the only federal law enforcement entity with reducing gun violence as its primary mission. The Partnership has also been calling for the nomination of a permanent director to lead ATF.
The Partnership’s policy priority has been the use of and requirement for background checks prior to all firearm sales. “Background checks have already blocked more than 2.4 million prohibited purchases since the Brady Law went into effect in 1994. “Today’s actions will go a long way, but we will continue to press for universal background checks and are grateful for the President’s support,” said Johnson.
The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence (www.lepartnership.org) is an alliance of the nation’s law enforcement leadership organizations concerned about the unacceptable level of gun violence in the United States. The Partnership is working to address the pervasive nature of gun violence and its horrific impact on community and officer safety.