Gun Violence Prevention Organizations Call on President Obama to Use Executive Authority to Ban Import of Armor-Piercing Pistol Used in Fort Hood Attack

For Immediate Release

Gun Violence Prevention Groups
Contact: 

Mandy Wimmer, Violence Policy Center, 202-822-8200 x110, mwimmer@vpc.org;
Peter Hamm, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, 202-898-0792, phamm@bradymail.org

Gun Violence Prevention Organizations Call on President Obama to Use Executive Authority to Ban Import of Armor-Piercing Pistol Used in Fort Hood Attack

WASHINGTON - In a letter sent today to the White
House, America's six national gun violence prevention (GVP)
organizations--the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Violence Policy
Center, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Freedom States Alliance, Legal
Community Against Violence, and States United to Prevent Gun Violence--as well
as 21 state and regional GVP groups strongly urged President Barack Obama to
use his executive powers to ban the import into the U.S. of the FN Herstal
Five-seveN armor-piercing semiautomatic pistol.  [See http://www.vpc.org/obamaletter.pdf
for a copy of the letter.]  A Five-seveN was used in the Fort Hood
attack earlier this month that left 13 dead and 34 wounded.  The
Belgian-made weapon, widely available on the U.S. civilian market, is also a
favorite of Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs), who refer to it as
the "mata policia," or "cop killer."

In the letter, the 27 organizations state:

"While we urge you to join us in pushing for other much-needed
policy changes to help reduce America's epidemic of gun violence that were also
relevant to the Fort Hood shooting, such as gaps in the federal background
check system that allow suspected terrorists to legally buy guns and the ready
availability of high-capacity magazines (including the 20-round magazines used
by the Fort Hood shooter), preventing the importation of any more Five-seveN
handguns is an important step that can be accomplished immediately through
administrative action by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives (ATF)--without the need for any action by Congress.

"Under longstanding federal law, ATF has the clear
authority to prohibit the importation of any firearm or ammunition unless it is
‘generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable
to sporting purposes.'  This provision of the 1968 Gun Control Act
has historically been used to exclude from import many non-sporting firearms,
including so-called ‘Saturday Night Special' handguns,
‘Street Sweeper' shotguns, and many foreign-made assault
weapons.  The FN Five-seveN handgun is clearly the type of firearm to
which Congress intended the import restrictions to apply."

The letter details the fact that despite a voluntary agreement
between FN Herstal and ATF to restrict the civilian sale of potentially
armor-piercing ammunition for the pistol, "a quick search of the Internet
identifies several sources for supposedly banned
ammunition."   

Noting that when "the Five-SeveN's availability
is combined with the easy accessibility of complementary armor-piercing
ammunition it becomes not only a direct threat to law enforcement, but a
potential national security threat as well," the organizations urge that
the President "act today to prohibit the importation of the FN Five-seveN
handgun as well as any 5.7X28mm ammunition that has armor-piercing
capabilities...."

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