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Congressman Steve Russell

Representing the 5th District of Oklahoma


Congressmen Russell and Gowdy Correct Firearm Misconceptions

July 6, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC – This morning, during the House Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Committee’s hearing on Firearm Inventory and Control Practices, Congressman Steve Russell (OK-5) addressed some of the falsehoods that were disseminated during the hearing about firearms. Congressman Trey Gowdy (SC-4) followed up with Congressman Russell to delve deeper into these statements, and cleared up many misconceptions being perpetuated in the gun-control debate.

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Excerpts from the OGR Hearing:

On Straw Purchases:

Russell: Newsflash, it is a felony to make a straw purchase on a firearm. As the only firearms manufacturer in Congress, I can assure you for my Democratic colleagues that you cannot make a straw purchase without it being a felony. That just absolutely does not happen. And to this 30,000 number that we see every year of people that lose their lives to firearm homicide, let’s not forget that 63 percent of those are suicide. Let’s have the debate but let’s use real facts.

On Prosecution of Known Offenders:


Gowdy: (T)here is actually a pretty long list of people who can’t purchase any kind of firearm or ammunition: those who use controlled substances, those who have been court-martialed, those that are not here legally or overstayed their visas, those that are subject to restraining orders in a domestic violence case. They already can’t possess firearms, any kind of firearms. So, that got me wondering to my friend from Oklahoma. I wonder how this administration is doing in enforcing the current laws that are on the books for all of those categories for prohibited persons. Does my friend know whether prosecutions are up or down over the last eight years?

Russell: Actually, the prosecutions are down. Sadly to say, the administration has not supported the ‘Don’t Lie For the Other Guy’ campaign which the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and the FBI both support, as well as all responsible gun manufacturers and federal firearms licensees. This is a real problem and the administration has not supported the efforts that would go a long way if we saw a different policy.

On the Terror Watch List:

Russell: (Y)ou know they say if you’re a terrorist you shouldn’t be able to buy a firearm. Newsflash, you can’t. 400,000 are on the terror watch list. Over 97 percent of those are foreigners. They are prohibited from purchasing firearms. You have to be a US citizen or a permanent US resident and 90 days in residence at your current address to even to have a firearm transferred. Otherwise, it is denied. So there is a lot of bad information. Of the three percent that remains, a fraction of that ends up being on the no fly list and of that it will trigger what they call a federal prohibitor, likely going to be denied or delayed at a minimum and the FBI is notified for further investigation.


On Firearm Homicide:


Russell: It’s also worth noting that in our gun violence that we see in actual murders with firearms they have decreased nine percent since 2010. They have decreased ten percent since 2005, twenty percent since 1995. Last year, the last statistical data year that we have, out of the 8,124 murders committed with firearms only 248 were done by rifles of any type. That was nearly half of what it was for blunt force objects or clubs, and other things of that nature. Again, we have a lot of data that’s being thrown out as inaccurate but in the true communist textbook fashion say it often enough and repeat it often enough it becomes believed and what is a lie becomes truth. 


Statistic correction: Congressman Russell misspoke to say the decrease in firearm homicide dropped only 10 percent since 2005. It is correct to state that firearm homicides have dropped 20 percent since 2005.

All statistics are attributable to the FBI.

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