“The only thing more heartbreaking than the damage gun violence has done to families across our nation is the fact that Congress has done so very little to stop it.”
SUMMARY OF STANCE
Time after time after time, the American people have demanded that Congress act in the aftermath of horrible tragedies like Las Vegas, Tucson, Aurora, Newtown, Santa Barbara, Charleston, San Bernardino, Orlando, and Dallas.
Gun violence in America remains an epidemic, claiming over 30,000 lives per year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Despite this epidemic of mass shootings and gun violence in our communities, and multiple polls showing that Republicans and Democrats nationwide overwhelmingly support common-sense gun safety measures, the House Republican Leadership did not allow a single bill on preventing gun violence to be considered on the House Floor in the entire 114th Congress—not one. The same is true so far for the 115th Congress.
RELATED LEGISLATION AND ACTIONS:
Introducing legislation is just one action that a member of Congress can take to address a concern or issue that impacts constituents. House Members can also introduce Congressional resolutions calling on the House (or even the full Congress) as a body to recognize or support a certain event or position on an issue. Members can write letters to government leaders requesting they take certain action, hold hearings with expert panels to address issues, work with colleagues at the committee level on specific issues, or even make direct in-person appeals to other Members or officials in the government. Here are a few examples of how I have taken action on this issue.
This inaction is simply unacceptable.
This why I cosponsored the Gun Violence Research Act to allow the Center for Disease Control and the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct evidence-based research on causes and effects of gun violence. Currently these agencies are prohibited from conducting research related to gun violence, and this legislation would allow these agencies to gather important injury-prevention information.
I also cosponsored a resolution to establish a select committee on Gun Violence Prevention, which would investigate the causes of mass shootings; methods to improve the federal firearms and dangerously mentally ill individuals; strengthening federal penalties for trafficking and straw purchasing of firearms; closing loopholes that allow some domestic abusers continued access to firearms; linkages between firearms and suicide; gun violence’s effect on public health; the correlation between state gun violence prevention laws and the incidence of gun violence; the importance of having reliable and accurate information on gun violence and its toll on our nation; the implementation of effective gun violence prevention laws in accordance with the Second Amendment to the Constitution; and, rates of gun violence in large metropolitan areas.
Last year, following the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, I was proud to take a stand on the floor of the House. On June 22, 2016, for almost 26 hours, nearly 180 of my House colleagues and more than 30 Senators took to the floor of the House of Representatives demanding a vote on gun violence prevention legislation in Congress.
I joined with civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis and many of my colleagues in calling for bipartisan action on a series of bills including: the “Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act,” the “Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act,” the “Background Check Completion Act,” and the “Hate Crimes Prevention Act.”
I’ve have received so many messages from my constituents and I know what resonates with them — sensible policies that protect our communities, respect our Second Amendment rights, and resolve this public health issue that is killing far too many Americans each day.
Congress must be responsive to the will of the people demanding their government to take action to keep guns out of the wrong hands. We must immediately debate and vote on:
- Ensuring proper background checks for all prospective gun buyers to make sure that those who should not own a gun are unable to obtain one; and
- Barring the sale of firearms to those on the No-Fly List.
These are straightforward, common-sense, and bipartisan safety measures, but Congress must be allowed a vote for any progress to be made. We can be effective at keeping guns out of the hands of those who should not have them while respecting Second Amendment rights, if we are given the opportunity to take action.
CAUCUSES OR MEMBERSHIPS RELATED TO ISSUE
Gun Violence Prevention Task Force
The Task Force meets with people on both sides of the aisle and all sides of the issue of gun violence to develop a comprehensive set of policy principles that respect the 2nd Amendment and will make schools, neighborhoods, and communities safer.
For more information concerning my work and views on gun safety issues, please contact me.
More on Gun Safety
Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) and Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) today joined with 22 other Members of Congress in sending a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging him to address issues concerning the exportation of U.S. firearms to Mexico and implement a system to ensure that firearms do not end up in the hands of human rights abusers and criminals. The letter read in part:
"I have been fighting for gun safety legislation for more than three decades. Despite the fact that our nation has been in the throes of a gun violence epidemic for years, it took a new majority in Congress to bring meaningful gun safety legislation to a vote.