Criminal Justice and Public Safety
“Building safe and secure communities is one of our most important national goals. To succeed, we must create drug- and crime-free schools, support a professional, visible police force rooted in our communities, and invest critical resources in the prevention and intervention of criminal activity by at-risk youth.”
– Rep. Adam Schiff
Passing Commonsense Reforms to Our Gun Laws
For too long, Congress has done nothing to address the growing epidemic of gun violence in the United States. In 2017 alone, nearly 40,000 people died from guns in the United States. To address this issue, Rep. Schiff voted to pass two historic gun reform bills through the House of Representatives. The first bill, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, requires a background check for every gun sale or transfer, with reasonable and explicit exceptions such as giving a gun as a gift to a close family member; loaning a gun for hunting or target shooting; or providing a gun in the moment of self-defense. The second bill, the Enhanced Background Checks Act, provides the FBI additional time to complete background check investigations for firearm sales.
In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) which provides immunity in state and federal court from civil liability for licensed manufacturers, distributors, and dealers of firearms in most negligence and products liability actions. In addition, Rep. Schiff introduced the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, which would ensure that the victims of gun violence are allowed to have their day in court and that the gun industry is not shielded from liability when it acts with negligence and disregard for public safety. The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence would allow civil cases to go forward against irresponsible bad actors. Letting courts hear these cases would provide justice to victims while creating incentives for responsible business practices that would reduce injuries and deaths.
Protecting Children from Predators
As the father of two, Rep. Schiff has been a dedicated advocate for child safety and believes we should always demand the best when it comes to protecting young Americans. For this reason, he introduced the Child Protection Improvements Act, which was signed into law on March 23, 2018. The bipartisan law helps to ensure that community based groups that provide mentoring, tutoring, and other assistance to young people are able to perform cheap, fast, and accurate background checks on prospective volunteers and employees. Rep. Schiff will continue to work to make sure this law is properly implemented.
Improving Police-Community Relations
Rep. Schiff has supported efforts to improve police-community relations, both in Los Angeles and around the country. He has been a leading advocate for the increased deployment of body-worn cameras for police officers. Research has shown that the use of cameras has a positive effect on police interactions with civilians, while providing an indisputable record of events in the case of a confrontation.
Solving Crimes With DNA Evidence
As a former prosecutor, Rep. Schiff believes in the unique power of DNA evidence to convict the guilty and free the innocent. He has been among the most active and engaged Members of Congress in pushing the criminal justice system, both federally and locally, to use this technology to its greatest potential. Among his initiatives is the Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act, legislation to incentivize states to follow the lead of California and many other states in collecting DNA from individuals arrested for serious felonies. In 2012, President Obama signed Katie’s Act into law.
Reducing the Rape Kit Backlog
Rep. Schiff was a leader in gaining federal support to clear a decade-old backlog of DNA evidence collected from sexual assaults in the LAPD and Sheriff’s Office crime labs. Schiff obtained millions of dollars through the Appropriations process to reduce and ultimately eliminate a backlog of thousands of rape kits, helping to solve open cases and provide closure to victims. Schiff also spearheaded the effort to obtain substantial federal support to help create a state-of-the-art crime lab in Glendale. In May of 2012, the Verdugo Regional Crime Laboratory officially opened, examining fingerprints, computer forensics, DNA and firearms. The Laboratory is now capable of processing about 400 to 600 samples of DNA each month in sexual assault, financial, property or burglary crimes.
Reforming Our Criminal Justice System
Rep. Schiff is a leading advocate for smart, evidence-based criminal justice reforms that reduce spending on corrections and reduce recidivism among those who have spent time in prison. As a State Senator, Schiff led by coauthoring and passing the Schiff-Cardenas Crime Prevention Act, a groundbreaking piece of legislation in California which paired investments in law enforcement with greater funding for proven programs to prevent crime and provide opportunities to young, at-risk people.
The size and cost of our prison system has exploded over the past three decades, and substantial research has shown that smart reform of the criminal justice system can have the three-fold effect of reducing crime, reducing spending, and reducing recidivism. Schiff has continued to lead the U.S. Congress on criminal justice issues. He is a leading advocate for the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, a data-driven program to address out of control correctional spending by investing in proven solutions to reduce recidivism and reinvest the savings into the community.