Today, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, released the statement below following President Obama's announcement of a comprehensive agenda to address gun violence in America, including mandated background checks for all firearms buyers, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and mental health and school safety initiatives:
"I applaud President Obama for putting forward a comprehensive and responsible approach to alleviating gun violence. The focus of these initiatives is on ensuring the safety of Americans, and that's where our focus should be.
"The tragedies in Newtown, Aurora, Tucson and elsewhere were heartbreaking. Young children, innocent Americans shot while doing everyday activities -- going to school, watching a movie, attending a community event. But, there's senseless, brutal gun violence taking place every day, in every community across our country. It's time for this violence to end. We can no longer acknowledge tragedy after tragedy, shooting after shooting by just remarking that something needs to be done. We know what needs to happen: it's time to put in place stronger gun laws. It's time to bolster resources and expand access to mental health services. It's time to ensure dangerous weapons stay out of the hands of dangerous people.
"Yesterday, Governor Cuomo signed into law comprehensive gun violence reform legislation, making the State of New York the first to act following the tragedy in Newtown. Today, with the President's plan, we have the opportunity to move forward as a country in taking responsible, reasonable steps to protect American lives.
"While there are steps the President can take on his own, he cannot do it alone. Congress needs to be a partner if we're going to achieve the comprehensive reform that is critical to keeping our communities safe."
Congressman Crowley is the eight-term representative from the 14th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He is a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee and serves as Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives.