GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION TASK FORCE CHAIR REP. MIKE THOMPSON ANNOUNCES TASK FORCE VICE CHAIRS
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Mike Thompson, chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force (CA-5) today announced 11 vice chairs to serve on the task force in the 114th Congress. The vice chairs and Thompson will make up the task force’s leadership team.
“I am proud to announce our leadership team for the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force,” said Thompson. “Our vice chairs have a wide range of expertise, come from different backgrounds, and will bring unique ideas to the table as we work to reduce and prevent gun violence while also protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. In 113th Congress our task force was successful in increasing funding for background check system to record levels. Now we need to take the next, and most important, step towards reducing gun violence by expanding background system so it can’t be bypassed with the click of a mouse or by driving to a gun show.”
After the December 14, 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Thompson was named by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to chair a congressional task force on reducing and preventing gun violence. Thompson is a hunter, gun owner, former chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, and veteran who carried a military-style assault weapon during a tour in Vietnam.
In February 2013, the task force announced a comprehensive set of policy principles designed to reduce gun violence while respecting the 2nd Amendment Rights of law-abiding Americans.
The 11 Vice Chairs for the 114th Congress are:
- Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), who represents the community of Newtown – “I’m honored to continue to serve as Vice Chair of the U.S. House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. The scourge of gun violence is devastating our communities. Congress has shamefully failed to act on commonsense reforms, like expanded background checks and stricter punishments for illegal gun trafficking and straw purchasing. These reforms protect the 2nd amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners, enjoy overwhelming support from the American people, and will save lives. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in Congress—particularly new members—to keep our children and our communities safe from gun violence.”
- Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA-2) – “It is a privilege to continue serving as one of the Vice-Chairs of this task force, charged with reducing gun violence and making our communities safer places to live and work. I am proud to have contributed to our progress last Congress, leading the effort that secured $73 million to assist states in improving background check records maintenance. There is no community in this country immune from the tragedies of gun violence, and as we sustain our efforts, I hope we can find consensus and enact smart legislation to strengthen our country’s gun laws.”
- Robin Kelly (IL-2), author of the 2014 Kelly Report on Gun Violence in America – “I’d like to thank Chairman Thompson for the opportunity to serve. I’m excited to work with him and the task force to strengthen the coalition against gun violence and to pursue common sense solutions to gun violence that balance our Second Amendment rights with the right of all Americans to live free from the threat of gun violence.”
- Rep. Grace Napolitano (CA-32) – “Suicide is the leading cause of gun deaths in the U.S. today, yet mental health services are rarely discussed as a means to prevent gun violence. Unfortunately the mischaracterization of individuals suffering from mental illness halts the progress we have made toward our goal: eliminating stigma to ensure those suffering know it is always okay to seek help. By detecting and treating mental illness early on we can help reduce self-harm or harm to others, preventing tragedies from occurring. I look forward to continue addressing the mental health component of gun violence prevention and working with my colleagues on this critical public health concern.”
- Rep. Rick Nolan (MN-8) – “I know that responsible gun-ownership is an integral part of our heritage in my home state of Minnesota – I am a lifelong sportsman and gun owner, and have hunted in northern and central Minnesota my entire life. The majority of my fellow sportsmen understand there is a need for a comprehensive approach to reduce and prevent gun violence while continuing to protect our Second Amendment rights. In that spirit, I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force to implement policies that protect our children and communities confronting the reality of daily gun violence and threat of senseless mass shootings.”
- Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-7) – "Colorado is home to some of the worst tragic mass shootings in our nation. Part of my work on this important task force is to avoid other families having to struggle with the violence and pain caused by mental health disorders and gun violence."
- Rep. David Price (NC-4) – “The time has come for Congress to pass common-sense legislation to reduce gun violence and prevent future tragedies like Sandy Hook. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force to develop and propose sensible reforms that would make our schools and communities safer while allowing law-abiding gun owners to use their weapons for recreation or self-defense.”
- Rep. Kathleen Rice (NY-4) – “I’m proud to join this task force. As a career prosecutor, I come to this issue from a law enforcement perspective. I’m not out to restrict any law-abiding citizen’s right to own a gun – I want to keep guns away from people who aren’t legally allowed to have them by closing the loopholes that allow violent criminals, domestic abusers and people with dangerous mental illnesses to avoid background checks. I’m eager to work with my fellow task force members to get it done.”
- Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-3), serving his 12th term representing Virginia's 3rd Congressional District and is the Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. He has sponsored the Youth PROMISE Act, which would provide resources to state and local governments for comprehensive, evidenced-based strategies and programs to prevent juvenile crime – "I am honored to serve another term as a vice chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Since the tragedy at Newtown, Connecticut, this task force has been working tirelessly to find legislative solutions to reduce gun violence and sadly our work is still very much needed. Obviously one single approach to ending gun violence will not be effective. But what can be most effective is a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that includes gun safety, mental health, juvenile justice, and crime prevention initiatives. I look forward to working with Chairman Thompson, our returning vice chairs and our newly appointed vice chairs to advance these issues in the 114th Congress."
- Rep. Jackie Speier (CA-12), Legislative Counsel to Congressman Leo Ryan in 1978 when she accompanied him to investigate the People's Temple cult in Jonestown, Guyana. Congressman Ryan was assassinated, and Speier was shot five times at close range. She still carries two of the bullets in her body - “We need to face the truth: America has a gun problem. With each new headline, we are reminded of the deadly cost of inaction. Congress cannot continue its silence while gun violence in this country continues. On average each day 32 Americans are murdered with a gun, 51 people kill themselves with a gun, and 45 people are accidentally shot with a gun. I look forward to working with The Gun Violence Prevention Task Force to enact commonsense reforms, including universal background checks, ending the gun show loophole, and looking at ammunition currently available.”
- Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS-2), an avid hunter, was selected to chair the bipartisan Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus during the 113th Congress. Congressman Thompson has served as the lead Democrat on the House Committee on Homeland Security since 2007. Prior to his election to Congress, Congressman Thompson served as alderman and mayor of Bolton, Mississippi and as a supervisor in Hinds, County Mississippi – “I am pleased to serve as Vice Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task force during in the 114th. I look forward to working with my colleagues on reducing the number of Americans affected by gun violence while protecting law abiding citizens 2nd Amendment Rights.”
Incoming Vice-Chairs Kelly, Nolan and Rice are replacing outgoing Vice-Chairs John D. Dingell, Carolyn McCarthy and Ron Barber.