Gun violence has shattered too many lives. No one should be unsafe in their home, schools, or places of worship, and laws ensuring that firearms are sold and used responsibly are an essential part of improving public safety. But instead of taking steps to live up to that responsibility, the gun lobby’s allies in Congress have shut down every attempt to pass reform. That is why I helped organize the historic sit-in on the house floor, to show the country that we hear their cries, and that we demand action.
There are a number of common sense measures that we can implement to address gun violence and keep our communities safe. I have cosponsored legislation to strengthen background checks, fight gun trafficking, increase protections for victims of domestic violence, among other efforts. Most basically, Congress must authorize research on gun violence so we can better understand the impact of this epidemic on our country. In fact, my home state of Massachusetts has enacted policies guided by research that that resulted in some of the nation’s lowest rates of gun violence.
On January 3, House Democrats took the majority in Congress and the inaction on gun violence came to an end. Two weeks after being sworn in, Democrats introduced The Background Checks Act, a bill that would close the ‘gun show loophole’ by requiring a criminal background check upon purchase of a firearm. 97% of Americans support this commonsense measure that is grounded in a simple principle: guns should not be in the hands of dangerous people.
Democrats are committed to taking a full vote on the House floor on this bill at the end of the month, but that’s not all. Last week, the House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on gun violence in a decade, and I introduced a bill, the Animal Violence Exposes Real Threat (AVERT) of Future Gun Violence Act, that will prohibit individuals with misdemeanor convictions for animal cruelty from possessing firearms.
Families, students, and survivors stood up, and House Democrats listened, proving that when we work together and fight for what is right, we can make our country stronger and safer. Finally, we are bringing change.
More on Reforming Our Gun Laws
|1/16/19||Melrose Free Press: Clark: Background check bill is important first step in addressing gun violence in Congress|
|1/16/19||MSNBC: 'Headliners: John Lewis' Getting in Good Trouble|
|11/9/18||The Boston Globe: Thoughts, prayers, and flags at half staff won’t stop the next angry gunman.|
|10/29/18||Salon: Efforts mounting to bar gun possession by those convicted of animal cruelty|