WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Tuesday hosted Rob Wilcox, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention (OGVP), for a social live discussion on the implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA). In their conversation, Murphy and Wilcox discussed how BSCA has helped drive down gun violence across the country and make communities safer since its passage two years ago this month.

Murphy emphasized the significance of the Biden administration’s decision to establish the first ever federal Office for Gun Violence Prevention: “We are very excited that this President, that President Biden and Vice President Harris, are so committed to keeping our kids safe and our communities safe that they have established, for the first time ever, an office inside the White House that is dedicated to this mission of changing our gun laws, of implementing sensible policy, of putting funding into our communities that help reduce the risk of our kids falling victim to gun violence. Of course, I lived through the nightmare of Sandy Hook. I was the Congressman from Sandy Hook at the time, I was at the firehouse that day as the parents waited for their kids to come back, and they never came back. But I now live in the south end of Hartford in Connecticut. I live in one of the more violence-prone neighborhoods. I've gotten to know a bunch of kids in that neighborhood, and I always remind my colleagues that for those kids, school feels like the safer place. It is the walk to and from school where their trauma exists. So you’ve got to understand the full panoply of gun violence and gun violence risks in this country. The country sometimes only pays attention when it's a school shooting or a shooting in a public place. But there are lots of kids who grow up with the risk of gun trauma every single day. And that's what the Office of Gun Violence Prevention is really focused on, making sure we understand how big a crisis this is.”

Murphy continued, highlighting the success of BSCA and OGVP in curbing illegal gun sales and reducing gun violence in Connecticut: “Connecticut has pretty tough gun laws. It's hard for criminals to buy guns in Connecticut, but it's pretty easy for criminals to be able to get guns in a state that doesn't have universal background checks and traffic them up to Connecticut and sell them privately on the black market in Connecticut, but our bill includes the first ever federal prohibition on gun trafficking. And from what I've heard, we've already started to see some pretty significant prosecutions of gun trafficking rings that we couldn't do prior to this law passing. And again, the idea is that if you want to understand why gun murders are coming down in our cities, maybe part of it is that we are making it harder for these gun traffickers to be able to sell guns illegally in our cities.”

Wilcox described the impact that this first-time federal prohibition of firearms trafficking is having in cities across the country thanks to BSCA: “I think it's pretty incredible to think that someone who was profiting off bringing illegal guns to our communities used to just get off with a slap on the wrist or paperwork violation. There was no federal law that actually made it a crime to straw purchase or to engage in firearms trafficking, even though any of us would look at that and say, ‘well, the person who is profiting off of illegal gun sales should be held accountable for giving guns to those of you who are most vulnerable or people in crisis.’ The tool that was in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act has been used to great effect. The Department of Justice just announced that the 500th defendant has been charged under that new law and they're going after significant gun trafficking rings. One example is they charge several defendants with trafficking and straw purchasing over 100 firearms, military style firearms, that they were intending to traffic into Mexico.”

Wilcox also highlighted how BSCA’s expanded background checks for buyers under 21 has had a massive impact and prevented harm: “Look, the data doesn't lie. Six of the nine deadliest mass shootings were committed by people under 21, oftentimes with red flags in their history that just weren't seen. And I'm proud to tell you that since taking this job, what I can say is that we've taken that law, that enhanced background check law, and tried to maximize the potential. We’ve done about 250,000, a quarter of a million, background checks on 18, 19, 20-year-olds since passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. And we've denied about 2,500. And when you look at that 2,500 and dig deeper, you can see that about a quarter of those denials are coming solely from the enhanced background check. That's over 775 individuals who are stopped… [One story the FBI provided] is a juvenile who went in to buy a firearm, and it was only because of the call into the state that what was discovered is that that individual had been found by a juvenile court to be mentally ill and involuntarily committed to a mental health hospital. Thankfully, that person was getting the help they needed. But because of that call, made possible by your law, that individual was blocked from buying a gun. And we don't know if they would have gone on to commit a mass shooting or to hurt themselves, but that is concerning history. And that was not available prior to your law.”

View the full recording of Murphy's interview HERE