Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement after President Obama unveiled today a series of new executive actions aimed at reducing gun violence:
“I wholeheartedly applaud and support President Obama’s decision today to further the enforcement of existing federal law that will require more gun sellers, especially those who do business on the Internet and at gun shows, to be licensed. This action will force these sellers to comply with federal law and conduct background checks on potential buyers. These checks aid in preventing guns from being sold to criminals and people with mental illnesses.
“I am also hopeful that Congressional Republicans–who have long called for greater investment in our country’s mental health system–will join Congressional Democrats to support the President’s proposal to provide $500 million more in federal funds to treating mental illness.
“President Obama’s actions today will simply save lives.
“Our fundamental responsibility as members of Congress is to keep people safe. Congress must act to pass common sense reforms, lift a nearly two decade old freeze on federal funding for gun violence research, and pass bipartisan legislation to require universal background checks. Overwhelming majorities of Americans–both Democrats and Republicans–are pleading with Congress to act.
“Our communities are suffering from the epidemic of gun violence. From the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino to a rash of gun violence in Los Angeles last summer, too many people along with their families and friends have suffered from the aftermath of this violence. As a former Physician Assistant, I worked in Los Angeles emergency rooms and treated too many victims of gun violence. They were all ages and all races, and these injuries and deaths impacted their friends, families and communities.
“We cannot afford to wait or to give into special interests anymore. Now is the time to prevent gun violence from killing even more innocent people.”