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Congressman Mike Thompson

Representing the 5th District of CALIFORNIA

Gun Violence Prevention

As a lifelong hunter and gun owner, I believe in a law-abiding individual’s right to own a firearm. I also know we have a responsibility to help keep our schools, streets and communities safe. The gun debate isn’t a choice between reducing violence and protecting the Second Amendment. It’s about the willingness of a responsible majority to do both.

In 2012, then-Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi appointed me Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This group, consisting of more than 170 Members of Congress, is devoted to finding commonsense solutions to our nation’s ongoing gun violence epidemic.

Following my appointment as Chairman, I held a series of open town halls on some of the actions Congress could take to address gun violence. Hundreds attended these meetings. I heard views from law enforcement officials, mental health experts, school officials, NRA leadership and gun violence prevention advocates. Many feared their Second Amendment rights would come under attack. Others wanted to cast these rights aside. I believe both views are too extreme. I’ll never give up my guns and I’ll never ask law-abiding Americans who have no history of mental illness to give up theirs. Not only am I personally against this, but the Constitution forbids it.

The Supreme Court affirmed in District of Columbia v. Heller that Americans have a right to keep and bear arms. However, just as the First Amendment protects free speech while prohibiting incitements to violence, the Second Amendment also has limits. In Heller, the Court upheld laws against firearms in places like schools and laws against felons or the mentally ill carrying guns. This ruling provides folks on both sides an opportunity to pass gun violence prevention legislation while working inside the confines of the Second Amendment.

As a gun owner, I take seriously my obligation to ensure firearms are owned and used responsibly. That’s why I introduced H.R. 8, my bipartisan bill to expand background checks to cover all sales and most transfers. Our background check system works. Every year, background checks stop 88,000 gun sales to criminals, domestic abusers, individuals with dangerous mental illnesses or other prohibited purchasers. However, in some states, those same individuals can buy identical guns at a gun show, over the internet or through a newspaper ad without any questions asked. H.R. 8 would close this loophole, greatly reducing the number of places criminals and the dangerously mentally ill can acquire a firearm.

Tens of thousands of lives have been lost in more than 1,600 mass shootings since Sandy Hook and 90 people die every day in occurrences of gun violence across our country. Please know I’m committed to offering the victims and survivors of this violence more than thoughts and prayers. I was immensely proud when H.R. 8 passed the House of Representatives on February 27, 2019 with 240 votes, including 8 Republicans. I look forward to my legislation’s full and fair consideration in the Senate and I’ll continue working with my Senate colleagues to enact H.R. 8 into law.

More on Gun Violence Prevention

Apr 29, 2019 Press Release

Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that $25 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to research and study gun violence has been included as part of the FY2020 Labor-HHS appropriations. Chairman Thompson released the following statement in reaction to the news.

Mar 29, 2019 Press Release

Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that a record 188 Members of Congress have signed his letter to appropriators requesting strong funding for the National Instant Background Checks System (NICS). Members from both parties are requesting $100 million in funding for grants to states to upgrade systems and other important maintenance of the system. A copy of the letter is below and a PDF is attached.

April 1, 2019

Feb 27, 2019 Press Release

Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) lauded the House passage of H.R. 8, his Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. This legislation expands background checks to cover all sales and represents the first major House vote on gun violence prevention legislation in 25 years.

Feb 22, 2019 Press Release

Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, will be considered for a vote next week. This historic vote represents the first major action on gun violence in more than two decades. Thompson released the following statement regarding this announcement.

Feb 4, 2019 Press Release

Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that his guest to the State of the Union will be Dr. Joseph V. Sakran, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Associate Chief of the Division of Acute Care Surgery, and Director of Emergency General Surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Sakran was nearly killed by a gunshot wound as a teenager and has spent his life working to care for trauma victims, including those injured by gun violence.

Jan 8, 2019 Press Release

Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05), Congressman Pete King (NY-02), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), House Judiciary Subcommittee Chairwoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18), Congresswomen Robin Kelly (IL-02), Congressman Fred Upton (MI-06), Congresswoman Lucy McBath (GA-06), and Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04) announced the introduction of H.R.

Dec 18, 2018 Press Release

Washington – Today Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that he and other Vice Chairs of the Task Force have asked each incoming committee chair to holding hearings on gun violence issues of jurisdiction to their committee. 

Nov 8, 2018 Press Release

Washington – Today Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Mike Thompson (CA-05) released the following statement after the tragic mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California.

“Yet again, a nation stands horrified at a mass shooting. Young people trying to enjoy a night of music and friendship were gunned down and a Sheriff’s Sergeant lost his life trying to keep his community safe. My heart is broken and mourning those lives lost and those lives that will never be the same.

Mar 16, 2018 Press Release

Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that he and a record 182 members of Congress from both parties are requesting $75 million in federal funding for the National Instant Criminal Background Check Systems (NICS).

Mar 12, 2018 Press Release

Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05), chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, condemned the President’s recently-released gun proposals, releasing the following statement.

“As we feared, the President has cowed to the NRA, turning his back on the millions of Americans who have already suffered from gun violence and the many who are vulnerable,” said Thompson. “People across our nation are calling for meaningful action and the White House is merely feigning in order to appease their base.”