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) and Vice Chair Kathleen Rice (NY-04) submitted an Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court in support of New York’s “proper cause” concealed carry law, the New York state law that passed over 100 years ago in 1911 which established the standard for acquiring a concealed carry permit. They were joined by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and 129 Democrats in their brief to the court that cited the need for this law to help prevent gun violence.
Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) released the following statement on the fifth anniversary of the tragic shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida that killed 49 people.
Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) and Members of the Task Force wrote to both the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader McConnell expressing strong support for David Chipman to be confirmed as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). They noted his strong record of advocacy to help prevent gun violence and the urgency of the issue, as ATF has gone the last six years without a Senate-confirmed director.
Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) and Leadership of the Task Force wrote to President Biden asking him to prevent the publication of the online files that allow people to 3-D print firearms at home. They urged him to maintain the controls that have previously prevented a release of these files, citing the urgent need to prevent further printing of these untraceable firearms. A copy of the letter is below.
President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
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.