Gun violence is a national crisis. This year alone, over 50,000 gun violence incidents have resulted in 12,904 deaths, a number that is likely to be higher after this issue goes to print. These statistics do not include the roughly 22,000 annual suicides by a firearm.
As a former prosecutor, I fought to bring criminals to justice, support victims of violence and reduce gun violence. Now, as the U.S. Representative of California’s 20th congressional district, I promote and advance common sense solutions to help prevent gun violence across the country.
During my congressional tenure, I successfully advocated for updating and resourcing the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and supported gun violence research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both measures were signed into law. I voted in support of legislation providing local law enforcement, school personnel and students the tools and resources necessary to proactively prevent school shootings.
Despite these efforts, public mass shootings continue to plague our country. Particularly terrifying, these events occur without warning and target victims in everyday locations. A concert in Las Vegas, a Pittsburgh synagogue, and a Thousand Oaks, California college bar are all now remembered as mass shooting national tragedies.
To stem this senseless violence, I cosponsored the assault weapons ban. Having served our country in a war zone, I know the lethality of rapid-fire, military style weapons. Reinstating the prohibition on assault-type firearms and high-capacity magazines will reduce the ability to access weapons of war and hopefully curb mass casualty shootings.
Still, more needs to be done. Congress must pass robust legislation to help reduce gun violence. During the 116th Congress, I expect sensible solutions to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. I also support bills that prevent criminals, terrorists, the dangerously mentally ill and domestic abusers from acquiring firearms. I authored and will reintroduce my legislation to remove firearms from those legally prohibited from owning them and strengthen the background checks system.
As your member of Congress, a veteran, a former prosecutor and an owner of firearms, I support responsible public safety protections and individual Second Amendment constitutional rights. The two are not mutually exclusive. The reduction of mass shootings is necessary and possible. All Americans – regardless of politics, race, ethnicity, class, or creed – can get involved to make this positive change.
We have watched, time and again, communities torn apart by gun violence. Sadly, we have also seen elected officials block meaningful change. Congress must possess the will to help prevent these horrific events. I will continue to and fight to create change in Congress when it comes to reducing gun violence. Our nation needs it now more than ever.