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
Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) lauded President Biden’s initial Executive Actions to help address gun violence and save lives. Chairman Thompson attended the President’s Rose Garden Ceremony and released the following statement.
Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) and Vice Chairs Joe Neguse (CO-02), Val B. Demings (FL-10), and Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) led a letter signed by 101 of their colleagues asking President Biden to take Executive Action to regulate concealable assault-style rifles, like the firearm used in the recent tragedy in Boulder, Colorado. Members cited ability of the administration to regulate such firearms under the National Firearms Act.
A copy of the letter is below.
Dear President Biden,
Napa, CA – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that he is coauthoring Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05)’s NICS Denial Act that would give public safety officers a better mechanism to enforce existing gun laws and crack down on prohibited purchasers like felons or domestic abusers who attempt to purchase guns.
Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) celebrated the passage of H.R. 8, his Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021. The bill would expand background checks to be required on all firearm sales, closing the gun show and online sales loopholes. Thompson is a gun owner, hunter and supporter of the Second Amendment. He’s led the Task Force since it was established in 2012 after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. A statement from Thompson is below.
Washington – Today House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05), along with original cosponsors House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Lucy McBath (D-GA), announced the introduction of the H.R. 8, Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021. This landmark gun violence prevention legislation requires background checks on all firearm sales.
Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced the leadership slate of the Task Force for the 117th Congress, including a new Vice Chair Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08). Full leadership of the Task Force is included below.
Washington – Today Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) released the following statement marking the eight-year anniversary since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that a record 196 Members of Congress have signed his letter to Appropriators requesting $100 million to fund the National Instant Background Checks System (NICS). Funding will allow states to update their databases and improve communication between states and the NICS system. A copy of the letter is below and a signed version is attached.
March 13, 2020
Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) marked one year since the House passed H.R. 8, his Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. This legislation would expand background checks and is widely agreed to be the quickest and most effective legislation to help prevent gun violence. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not given the bill a vote in the Senate, despite widespread and bipartisan support. A statement from Thompson is below.
Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) put out the following statement on the deadly shooting in Milwaukee that killed at least six and injured others.
“Heartbreaking news out of Milwaukee. Jan and I are mourning for the families and loved ones of those killed and injured, and for the community forever changed. As we prepare to mark one year since the passage of H.R. 8, this is a tragic reminder of the real impact this violence has and that we must fight to get this bill signed into law.”