Gun violence has taken too many lives and shattered too many communities. No one should be unsafe in their home, school, 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 critical reform. That is why I helped organize the historic sit-in on the House floor in 2016 with Congressman John Lewis to show the country that we hear their cries, and that we demand action.
But enacting gun safety reform is about more than just preventing another mass shooting – it’s critical to addressing the epidemic of daily violence on our streets. Over half of all gun-related deaths are suicides. Every day, an average of 26 Black Americans are killed by guns and 104 experience non-fatal injuries. At least every other day, a Black person is shot and killed by police. Between 2011 and 2015, Hispanic people experienced a higher rate of violent hate crime victimization than both white and Black people. Since 2013, nearly two-thirds of fatal violence toward transgender and gender-nonconforming people involved a gun. And an average of 50 women a month are shot to death due to intimate partner violence. Gun violence is a pressing health crisis in this country, especially for Black, Latino, and LGBTQ+ Americans, and must be addressed accordingly.
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, and increase protections for victims of domestic violence, among other efforts. We must also continue to research 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 resulted in some of the nation’s lowest rates of gun violence.
These policies aren’t controversial – the majority of Americans support common sense measures to make gun laws stricter in the United States. It’s simple: guns should not be in the hands of dangerous people. Families, students, and survivors continue to stand up, and House Democrats will keep fighting to make our country stronger and safer.
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