Gun Violence Prevention
Though years have passed since the horrific murder of twenty school children and six faculty members at Sandy Hook Elementary School, here in Connecticut that tragedy remains at the forefront of our minds—especially when discussing the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our country. Since that day in 2012, the United States has experienced a rash of mass shooting events and mourned the loss of tens-of-thousands of men and women due to gun violence. In urban centers like the city of Hartford, gun violence has become a part of day-to-day life.
Like many Americans, Rep. Larson believes the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of citizens to possess legal firearms for personal protection and sporting purposes. However, he also believes implementing commonsense reforms that most Americans already agree on can save countless lives across the country each and every year.
Click above to watch Rep. Larson call on House Leadership
to take action on gun violence prevention, or visit:
As the President has said repeatedly, “While there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, if there is if even one thing we can do to reduce this violence – even one life can be saved – we have an obligation to try.” Though Rep. Larson understands many Americans genuinely disagree about how to reduce gun violence throughout the country, he firmly believes Congress should hold an honest debate on the subject. The majority of the public understands the necessity for reasonable reforms, and he believes Congress could find common ground and pass important legislation.
5 Key Policies to Stem the Epidemic of Gun Violence:
1. A ‘Universal Background Check’ for all firearms purchases or transfers in the United States:
The most effective way to prevent gun violence and mass shootings is to keep weapons out of the hands of people who are legally barred from possessing them, including criminals and individuals experiencing severe mental illness. Far too often, guns are sold without any background check at all to verify whether someone is legally allowed to purchase one. Rep. Larson has supported various background check initiatives in previous years, and he is currently a co-sponsor of Rep. Speier’s ‘Fix Gun Checks Act’ (H.R. 3411).
2. Limitations to the amount of ammunition, or bullets, a firearm magazine can hold:
The memory of the mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona—where Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford was seriously wounded and six individuals were killed—remains fresh in Rep. Larson;s mind. Law enforcement subdued the shooter only after he was forced to stop and reload his firearm. Rep. Larson firmly believes limiting the number of bullets a magazine can hold is a simple way to blunt the effectiveness a someone who may attempt to carry out a mass shooting,. To that end, he cosponsored Rep. Elizabeth Esty’s ‘Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act’, H.R. 752
3. Penalty enhancements for people convicted of straw-purchasing firearms:
In addition to insisting on a universal background check for every firearm purchase in the United States, every effort must be made to prevent attempts at skirting those checks. ‘Straw-purchases’ enable individuals who are ineligible to legally purchase a firearm to obtain one by utilizing a third party to complete the sale on their behalf. This type of transaction is already a federal crime, but Rep. Larson believes we must enact a more stringent penalty for those convicted of this crime in the hope of deterring others. Straw-purchasers often cost people their lives, albeit it indirectly, and thus the penalty must reflect the severity of the crime. That is why Rep. Larson was proud to cosponsor Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s ‘Gun Trafficking Prevention Act’, H.R. 3455.
4. Ban the sale of military-style assault weapons:
Military-style assault weapons are firearms designed with characteristics similar to those used on martial weapons intended for combat situations. Rep. Larson strongly feels weapons created with these characteristics are not necessary for either personal protection or sporting purposes, and should not be available for sale to the general public. For those reasons, he cosponsored Rep. David Cicilline’s ‘Assault Weapons Ban’, H.R. 4269.
5. Provide additional counseling and support for youth impacted by urban violence:
Each year, countless young Americans lose friends or family members due to violence in their neighborhoods. Others sustain injuries themselves—both physical and emotional. This trauma takes a toll on their overall health and well-being, leaving them susceptible to depression or aggressive behavior in the following months and years. Increasing access to mentoring, counseling, social-emotional learning programs, and other mental health services to our most vulnerable youths could help them heal and prevent future violence. That’s why Rep. Larson first introduced the City Youth Violence Recovery Act in 2007, and will reintroduce a similar proposal this year.
Rep. Larson stands with Team 26 to demand Congressional action on gun violence prevention.
Rep. Larson is currently a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, chaired by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) in the U.S. House of Representatives.
More on Gun Violence Prevention
Kevin Johnson doesn’t remember much about the day his big brother was shot in the head during a violent clash of gang members at the end of the 2008 West Indian Parade.