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.

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(6) comments

Marilyn Galli

Congressman Panetta supports bills that prevent criminals, terrorists, the dangerously mentally ill and domestic abusers from acquiring firearms. He authored and will reintroduce his legislation to remove firearms from those legally prohibited from owning them and strengthen the background checks system. This is unclear how he will reform the background checks system when law-abiding citizens own guns and should protect our second Amendment. I want to know how he is going to ban gun ownership from the unstable or criminals without impeding our right to bear arms?

Frank Calamia

I too am a combat veteran. To compare a civilians semi-automatic rifle to a military grade rapid fire assault weapon is grossly misleading. Frankly, I am disappointed that you would seek to hinder our citizens rights under the 2nd Amendment to defend our Republic against enemies both foreign and domestic. Criminals do not adhere to our gun control laws. One need only review the statistics of gun deaths in Chicago to understand what it is like when the law abiding citizens are denied their 2nd Amendment Rights. You quote gun statistics of 50,000 to make your point. Disarming law abiding citizens empowered criminals to use force by weapons when every they saw fit to do so! You spoke of mass shootings at our schools, but you fail to address the lack of action to harden our schools. Would be terrorist already have weapons that can murder scores of children before the police can intervene. Hardening our schools should be your priority, not passing laws that infringe or abrogate a citizens 2nd Amendment Rights. I constantly hear from the Democrats, of which I was a former supporter, that "sensible gun control" is your goal. No sir, your goal is to deprive our citizens of the right to repel a government that seeks to undermine our Constitutional rights. I suppose you are in favor of Open Borders too? Honor your oath sir!

Barry Hirsh

"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."

Point of information: Semiautomatic firearms are generally protected by the Second Amendment according to the SCOTUS decision in U.S. v. Miller (1939), which held:

"In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a 'shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment, or that its use could contribute to the common defense. Aymette v. State, 2 Humphreys (Tenn.) 154, 158. . . .

"With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of these [militia] forces, the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view." - U.S. v. Miller (1939)

Let me repeat that for emphasis:

1) reasonable relationship to the . . . efficiency of a well regulated militia

2) any part of the ordinary military equipment

3) could contribute to the common defense

4) IT MUST BE INTERPRETED AND APPLIED WITH THAT END IN VIEW.

And later, in D.C. v. Heller (2008)

"Miller stands . . . for the proposition that the Second Amendment right . . . extends only to certain types of weapons." - D.C. v. Heller (2008)

Given the above, your sponsorship of an unconstitutional ban on protected firearms reveals your cavalier dismissal of the public understanding of "arms" at the time the Second Amendment was ratified, and according to the SCOTUS, the Second Amendment must be interpreted and applied with that end in view.

When are you guys going to get it through your heads that YOU CAN'T DO THAT.

Rich Seibert

The 2nd Amend is a RESTRICTIVE admendment. It states such in the Preamble to Bill of Rights. the 2A does not grant nor convey any right, but RESTRICTS and PROHIBITS the government from infringing upon this enumerated, pre-existing, God given right.

Rich Seibert

this site will be listed as a site of moderation/censorship

Rich Seibert

There is no such thing as "gun violence". This is a focus-group-driven buzzword and talking point to create an imaginary bogeyman as the main anti 2nd Amendment propaganda tool. There are PEOPLE who commit violence with guns, but there are many more people who commit violence without them.
And, since the term "gun violence" is a catchword/cliche, the title suggests an unattainable goal. People have been robbing and killing other people, using the weapons of the day, since the beginning of man on this planet, which identifies the real issue - controlling criminal impulses in humans, not the otherwise legal instruments they use to commit crimes.
Anyone who doesn't realize and/or acknowledge this isn't thinking, s/he is 'feeling', and our liberty cannot depend upon what anybody 'feels'.

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