As president of Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI) and the affiliated Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (CPHV) until 1996, Richard Aborn has been an active supporter of more stringent gun control legislation. Since 1979, Aborn has been active in the campaign to reduce gun violence. From 1979 to 1984, he worked in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, investigating and prosecuting homicide and illegal gun distribution cases. After leaving government, Aborn worked as a volunteer for HCI and was elected to the board of trustees in 1988 and to the presidency in 1992.
Aborn worked to implement CPHV's STAR program (Straight Talk About Risks) in New York City public schools. The program, which is aimed at children from prekindergarten through the twelfth grade, is intended to educate youth about the dangers of firearms to reduce injuries resulting from their misuse. Aborn contributed to former New York Governor Mario Cuomo's publication project, New York State Strategy to Reduce Gun Violence. He has been a consultant to the Ford Foundation on violence and youth and has worked with a New York task force of public health officials to consider solutions to the problem of violent crime.
Aborn supports a comprehensive federal gun control bill that would include licensing and registration of handgun purchases and transfers, the limitation of gun purchases to one per month, and a ban on Saturday night specials. He advocates a tax at a "reasonable level" on ammunition, dealers' licenses, and firearms to be used to pay for the medical costs of gun-related injuries. He insists that HCI does not want to ban all guns or interfere in the lawful acquisition of firearms, but instead strives to stop the illegal gun market. Aborn sees no contradiction between gun ownership and gun control.
Aborn notes that illicit gun traffickers acquire firearms in jurisdictions with weak gun control laws and then sell them illegally in jurisdictions with more stringent laws. He claims that Virginia was the primary source of illegal firearms until that state passed a one- gun-a-month law. Aborn holds that Saturday night specials (which he defines as a handgun that has a barrel less than two inches long, is made of non-homogeneous metal, is unsafe, and cannot pass a drop test from more than five feet) are disproportionately used as crime weapons and have little self-defense use.
Aborn claims that gun control laws already passed have been effective. He cites a U.S. Justice Department estimate that the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act prevented over 70,000 felons from purchasing guns from retail outlets during its first year in effect. In addition, he asserts that the assault weapons ban has effectively restricted the supply of such firearms.