House Democrats push for gun reform legislation, ask GOP for help

“It’s not a violation of your second amendment…I hope they stand with us, sign this petition, and put pressure on their leadership to bring this measure to the floor for a vote,” says U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif.

House Democrats hope to pass gun reform legislation to combat the nation’s gun violence epidemic that disproportionately impacts Black and other marginalized communities.

On Wednesday, members of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, which included U.S. Reps. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and Jason Crow, D-Colo., held a press conference at the U.S. Capitol to crack down on mass shootings and other forms of gun violence in urban cities across America.

U.S. Capitol,
The U.S. Capitol building is shown in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“The American people are fed up with gun violence…especially in disproportionately affected communities,” said Mark Collins, director of federal policy for Brady United Against Gun Violence.

Collins told theGrio, “It’s important to put pressure on Congress. We need them to understand that it’s going to continue to affect them and everyone across the country.”

In 2024, more than 1,100 people have already died as a result of gun violence in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Thompson, the task force’s chair, told theGrio, “Every day, 30 people are killed by someone using a gun, and if you add accidental deaths and suicides, that number jumps up to over 100 people a day.”

“We are working on this issue every day,” said the congressman.

Aguilar told reporters, “We’re two weeks into the new year, and communities across America have already endured the preventable tragedy of [a] mass shooting.”

“Just last week, a gunman opened fire in Iowa…killing an 11-year-old, forever changing the lives of everyone in the entire community,” he said.

Buffalo supermarket shooting,
FILE – A police officer lifts the tape cordoning off the scene of a shooting at a supermarket, in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday, May 15, 2022. The city of Buffalo will pause Sunday to mark the passing of one year since the attack. Events include a moment of silence and the chiming of church bells. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The congressman lamented the nation enduring countless mass shootings and highlighted the tragedy that took place in Charleston, South Carolina, where a white supremacist murdered nine Black parishioners while they were attending church in 2015.

House Democrats announced a new discharge petition to force a vote on the Keep Americans Safe Act. If enacted, the statute would place limitations on how Americans can interact with what they call “weapons of war.”

“This discharge petition for the Keep America Safe Act will prevent anyone from promoting and selling large capacity ammunition magazines that have been used in far too many mass shootings,” Aguilar told reporters.

A discharge petition is a request signed by members of the U.S. House of Representatives in order to bring a bill to the floor for consideration. This sort of petition needs signatures from an absolute majority which constitutes 218 members of the House.

Congressman Thompson explained that Democrats have had to do “many” discharge petitions because Republicans “aren’t willing to bring these common-sense pieces of legislation with great support from the American people to the floor for a vote.”

“This is our way to try to put pressure on the Republican majority to take up these issues to save lives,” he said.

Last month, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., took to X, formerly known as Twitter, and wrote, “Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children in America. House Democrats are ready to act.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries,
“We’ve got to strike the right balance between public safety, strengthening the relationship between law enforcement and the community and avoiding to the greatest extent possible and eliminating police brutality in America,” says House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“We need traditional Republicans to break with the MAGA extremists and join us,” he continued.

Collins of Brady United Against Gun Violence told theGrio that GOP Leadership “seems to be on the side of gun extremist groups,” including the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America. 

He added, “The gun industry spends a lot of money to ensure that they’re talking with the right people on Capitol Hill.”

Congressman Thompson said he’s “hopeful” there will be enough Republicans who understand that stricter gun laws are “necessary” to save American lives.

“It’s not a violation of your second amendment,” he said. “I hope they stand with us, sign this petition, and put pressure on their leadership to bring this measure to the floor for a vote.”

Aguilar told reporters that Democrats need five Republicans to “stand with America’s children to save lives.”

“So where are the so-called Republican moderates when we need them to stand up for gun violence prevention?” he inquired. “Stop bending a knee to the MAGA extremists and join us Democrats in doing so.”

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