Echoing calls from President Barack Obama, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and many others in the wake of last week’s racist-terrorism massacre in Charleston, S.C., Rep. Mike Thompson today urged House GOP leaders to bring his bipartisan background-check bill to a vote.
Thompson, D-St. Helena, is an avid hunter and combat veteran who was tapped to be House Democrats’ point man on gun-control issues soon after the December 2012 schoolhouse massacre in Newtown, Conn. His H.R. 1217, co-authored by Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., would expand the existing background check system to cover all commercial firearm sales, including those at gun shows, over the internet or in classified ads.
“Mr. Speaker, last week we witnessed an act of pure hatred and evil in Charleston, S.C.
“This is a time to mourn the victims, to pray for their families, for a community to heal, and for Congress to take action against unchecked and widespread gun violence.
“30-plus people are killed every day by someone using a gun. Mass shootings are becoming almost commonplace. And yet we continue to do nothing.
“No legislation will stop every tragedy. But passing commonsense gun laws will at least stop some.
“We need to pass background checks. It’s our first line of defense against criminals & the dangerously mentally ill getting guns.
“We don’t know what laws could have prevented the shooting in Charleston.
“But we do know that background checks stop help keep guns from dangerous people – and that saves lives.
“If the Republican leadership has a better idea to cut down on gun violence, let’s see it.
“If not, let’s bring commonsense, bipartisan reforms like my bill to expanded criminal background checks up for a vote.”
A Quinnipiac University poll conducted one year ago found 92 percent of Americans – and 92 percent of gun owners – support requiring background checks for all gun buyers. A Public Policy Polling survey conducted this past weekend found 90 percent support.