Congresswoman Beatty Committed to Addressing America’s Gun Violence Epidemic
Last Friday, our country experienced another unspeakable tragedy in Virginia Beach, Virginia. A gunman opened fire on coworkers and colleagues, senselessly killing 12 innocent people and injuring several others, and in the process forever changing the lives of the victims’ families, friends, and the entire Virginia Beach community.
“We as a nation cannot become immune to these horrific acts of gun violence,” U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) said. “We owe it to the victims, their families, and all Americans to take action. We need a movement. We need to find real, bipartisan solutions that will help finally put a stop to the bloodshed. We need it now to end gun violence and make America safer for everyone. Enough is enough.”
According to recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 40,000 people in America were killed as a result of gun violence in 2017—the highest level in nearly 40 years. That represents an increase of more than 10,000 deaths as compared to the 28,874 deaths recorded in 1999.
In response, the U.S. House of Representatives this year passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, H.R. 8, and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019, H.R. 1112. These bills represent the first meaningful action taken by Congress to address gun violence in a generation.
“Nearly 95 percent of all Americans support universal background checks—including the vast majority of National Rifle Association members,” Beatty said. “A new day has dawned in the 116th Congress, the House Democratic majority is committed to addressing America’s gun violence epidemic, but it is imperative that the Senate follow suit and take action on these important, potentially life-saving pieces of legislation.”
If enacted, H.R. 8 would require a mandatory background check on all firearm sales, with limited, reasonable exceptions, and close the “gun show loophole.” H.R. 1112 would close the “Charleston Loophole” that allows individuals to obtain a firearm three days after a background check is initiated—no matter if it is completed or not. In 2015, a perpetrator used this legal technicality to acquire a gun he later used to kill nine members of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Both bills are awaiting further consideration by the U.S. Senate.
In addition to sponsoring these important bills, Beatty has authored her own comprehensive gun violence prevention bill, the Safer America For Everyone Right (SAFER) Now Act, H.R. 282. Beatty’s bill goes beyond H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112 by banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, as well as authorizing federal grants for gun buy backs.
“My constituents and the American people are demanding action, because every day another family needlessly suffers due to this epidemic. That is why during this Gun Violence Awareness Month and all year long, I am working tirelessly with my willing colleagues to help put a stop to this senseless violence. As Members of Congress, we have a responsibility to help find solutions, and I believe my bill, the SAFER Now Act, is a comprehensive, common-sense approach.”
Public polling confirms that there is broad, bipartisan consensus about the need to improve our nation’s gun laws. In fact, a recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 97 percent of Americans support universal background checks and also that two in three Americans want stronger gun laws overall. Moreover, 70 percent support stricter assault weapons laws based on a MSN poll.
For more information on Gun Violence Awareness Month, go to: www.gunviolenceawarenessmonth.com. To learn more about Beatty’s ongoing efforts to curb gun violence, please visit her website. Finally, be sure to join in the conversation all month long online by using #GVAM and #GunViolenceAwarenessMonth.