Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Conyers Joins President Obama at the White House and Calls for Strong Measures Against Gun Violence at Special Congressional Hearing

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) participated in two events highlighting the need for Congress to take action against gun violence. In the morning, Congressman Conyers attended an event at the White House, hosted by President Barak Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, at which the President set forth a package of recommendations on gun violence reduction.  Subsequently, Congressman Conyers participated in a congressional hearing held by the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and chaired by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi entitled, “Gun Violence Prevention: A Call to Action.”  Witnesses at the hearing, including Emily Nottingham (whose son was killed in the 2011 mass shooting), Dr. Janet Robinson, who is the Superintendent of Schools in Newtown, Connecticut, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and Chaska, Minnesota Police Chief Scott Knight, called on Congress to enact new laws to protect our citizens. Congressman Conyers issued this statement following the events:

“We have to take a stand against all gun violence, whether it is perpetrated in acts of mass violence or in the many other shootings that take place in communities across America every day,” said Conyers.

“Each day, on average, 33 Americans are murdered with guns, which amounts to 12,000 lives each year.  More civilian Americans are killed by various types of gun violence every two years than the 58,000 U.S. soldiers who were killed during the Vietnam War.  The President and Vice President have called on us to act, making a number of recommendations, some of which were echoed by the witnesses at our hearing today. 

“There are a variety of proposals which we have been developing as we have learned what is needed to combat gun violence. The time is now to take action on such initiatives as requiring background checks for all gun sales, banning semi-automatic assault weapons, banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, taking steps to address the root problems of crime in our communities through crime prevention programs, and addressing the mental health crisis in our nation in which approximately 26% of our population suffers from serious mental illness. I commend the President’s determination to address this crisis and to finalize mental health benefits and parity requirements under the Affordable Care Act, as well as the implementation of a new initiative to train mental health professionals and deploy them in our communities.

“The first obligation of government is to protect our citizens, and the seriousness of the problem of gun violence demands that we take action on a comprehensive set of strong solutions.  As a nation, I believe we are ready to do just that.”

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