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Jackson Lee: “On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King was killed by gun violence. Forty-six years later it is imperative that we come together in strong support of a broad and comprehensive strategy to reduce gun violence in America by requiring universal background checks and ending the gunshow loophole”

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and a Senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement after the Governor of Georgia signed legislation (Georgia House Bill 60) which allows Georgians to carry firearms in a wide range of new places, including schools, bars, churches and government buildings:

“Over one million people have been killed with guns in the United States since 1968. U.S. homicide rates are 6.9 times higher than rates in 22 other populous high-income countries combined, despite similar non-lethal crime and violence rates. Most gun owners are responsible and law-abiding, and they use their guns safely. We must begin discussing common-sense steps we can take right now to combat gun violence. Signing House Bill 60 is not that right step to take when trying to confront gun violence in America. I have introduced H.R. 65, the Child Gun Safety and Gun Access Prevention Act and I have co-sponsored other gun safety legislation while in Congress. Many in the law enforcement community have expressed support for my legislation.

“The legislations signed today by the Governor of Georgia legalizes the use of silencers for hunting, clears the way for school staffers to carry guns in school zones and lets leaders of religious congregations choose whether to allow licensed gun holders inside. And it allows permitted gun owners to carry their weapons in government buildings – including parts of courthouses – where there is no security at the entrance. This is a step in the wrong direction!!!!!!

“The community in Newtown, Connecticut – along with the rest of the country – is still reeling from the inconceivable tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, 2012; our hearts still ache with sadness and disbelief for the families and loved ones of the children and women who lost their lives in this senseless act of violence.

“As the founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Children’s Caucus and a senior Member of the Judiciary Committee, I have listened far too often to the tragic testimony of individuals who have survived or lost loved ones as a result of gun violence.  We need a comprehensive approach: a surge in mental health services, mental health ‘first aid’ programs to identify and intervene in problems before it is too late, and a background check system that will stop the most dangerous among us from buying guns, by getting records in the system and closing the Internet and gun-show loopholes.

“We must take on this challenge with the recognition that changing the pervasive culture of violence will not happen overnight.  While we can act now and pass legislation to ameliorate some of causes of the youth violence epidemic, this problem is larger than our laws. That is why we must make an enduring commitment to our youth.  Signing House Bill 60 does not make that commitment to our children. We must work tirelessly to create an environment in this country that lifts the psychological burden of violence off the shoulders of our kids.”


Media Contact:

Mike McQuerry

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