Congressional Black Caucusby Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson
Posted on 2016-01-11
JOHNSON of Texas. Madam Speaker, last week,
President Obama announced a series of executive actions aimed at
reducing gun violence across the United States. President Obama laid
out these much-needed steps in the face of Congressional inaction,
which will help to reduce the senseless gun violence that affects
countless communities across our nation.
In 2014, firearms claimed the lives of more than 33,000 Americans. Over 2,800 of those fatalities took place in my home state of Texas. Perhaps there will be a time when we no longer will have to read headlines about mass murders in our schools or movie theaters. But until then, our nation must take concerted steps to strengthen background checks, improve mental health services, and keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. This is what President Obama has sought to achieve and I truly believe that this can be done without infringing on law-abiding citizens' right to bear arms.
There have been numerous critics of President Obama's executive actions to reduce gun violence. However, we can no longer stand by as gun violence claims the lives of more innocent Americans. The President is limited in what he can achieve through executive actions alone. That is why Congress has the responsibility to pass comprehensive gun safety legislation now and put our nation on the path to preventing such violence from happening again.
Mr. Speaker, gun violence affects individuals of all backgrounds in communities all across the United States. It is not a Democratic issue nor is it a Republican issue. It is an issue that affects every American in one form or another. Successfully reducing gun violence in this country will take more than just legislative action from Congress. It will take the collective effort of every American to change the course of our history and end gun violence in America once and for all.