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DNSIB Moves President Obama, Wins Breakthrough Smart Gun Victory—Washington Post Calls Action “Arguably Most Significant” of President’s Executive Actions on Guns. 

On January 4, President Obama took an action to curb gun violence that Metro IAF and key allies had persistently recommended: He directed the three federal agencies that purchase the most firearms—the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Justice—to research and, where appropriate, purchase “smart guns” and related technologies.

This groundbreaking and long-overdue step will stimulate R&D investment in these life-saving technologies, and help smart-gun developers get their products to market despite ongoing attacks from gun-rights extremists. Most importantly, the President has recognized that federal purchasing power can be used to leverage innovation and improvement in the gun industry. 

In a video in late January, Sen. Chris Murphy (CT) recognized CONECT/DNSIB’s leading role in “holding gun manufacturers’ feet to the fire” and persuading the President to act. Murphy, Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) were among Metro IAF’s key allies pressing for this action. This breakthrough victory resulted in extensive press coverage for DNSIB. Washington Interfaith Network Organizes to Ban Discrimination Against People with Criminal Records.  
On Jan. 11, in the aftermath of President Obama’s action on smart guns, 75 Metro IAF leaders gathered on the NYC City Hall steps with City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries to call on Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYC Police Department to take similar action. De Blasio has broken a campaign promise by failing to use the city’s purchasing power to pressure gun manufacturers. 
On Feb. 2, with public actions outside crime-gun dealers in Maryland and Ohio, DNSIB launched a new phase to push gun CEO’s to CLEAN UP THEIR INDUSTRY. 60 leaders from six Metro IAF affiliates gathered at Realco Guns—identified by the Washington Post as the largest supplier of crime guns in Maryland and DC. 55 leaders from Greater Cleveland Congregations gathered at Atlantic Gun and Tackle, which has long been known as one of the largest suppliers of crime guns in the United States. In each location, Metro IAF delegations entered the store and attempted to discuss the dealer’s distribution practices. We asked both dealers whether their suppliers—the major gun manufacturers—had ever expressed concern or given incentives or pressure to reduce the number of guns sold to straw purchasers.

The response of Realco’s manager: “No.” Even after the Washington Post linked Realco Guns to 2,500 crimes? “They have never contacted us.” The response of Atlantic’s owner: “I’m going to ask you to leave my store now.” We asked each dealer to provide data on the number of crime guns traced to them. (Congress makes it impossible to obtain this information from the federal government.) We will follow up with Realco—and will also seek this information from major crime-gun dealers in other areas. With Atlantic, the answer was a definitive no.
Metro IAF’s campaign to persuade gun manufacturers to make and distribute guns more safely and responsibly takes a unique approach: we seek to build an “NRA for the public sector”—an organized group of public-sector gun buyers using their market power to leverage change. To date, 83 jurisdictions, including Atlanta, Boston, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, and Durham are DNSIB signatories.

Press coverage includes Metro IAF opeds in the NY Times, Daily News, and Bergen Record, and recent news stories in the Washington Post, Daily News, The Trace and NPR.
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