U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-1) today joined with Colorado State Representative Rhonda Fields and local citizens to call on Congress to act on the epidemic of gun violence that our country faces. DeGette discussed her federal legislation to ban high-capacity assault magazines as well as the package of proposals made by President Obama last week. Rep. Fields described her state legislation as well her personal motivation to act, the loss of her son to gun violence.
"I was proud to be at the White House to hear President Obama outline his plan for common-sense solutions to keep our children and our families safe and prevent gun violence throughout the nation," said DeGette. "The President immediately implemented 23 executive actions and called on Congress to take swift action on larger proposals to prevent gun violence like universal background checks and renewing an assault weapons ban, including a ban on high-capacity magazines.
"I agree with the President that there is no one solution. But while we will never be able to stop every disturbed individual from going into a school or a movie theater or a shopping mall and shooting people, we can slow them down and give the people in their sights a fighting chance. That is why I call on Congress to pass my legislation to ban high-capacity assault magazines."
"This is a very personal matter for me. Not only because of my son's tragedy, but because we are dealing with gun violence in our neighborhoods on a daily basis. The horrific massacres make us stand up and say enough, but 33 people continue to be killed by guns in our country each and every day. There have been more than 1,200 gun deaths in just over a month since Newtown. These senseless acts are destroying our communities and we must act now on a comprehensive plan to curb gun violence," said Fields.
Joining the legislators were long-time advocate Tom Mauser who lost his son, Daniel, at the tragedy at Columbine, and local gun owner, Jesse Ogas.
"Americans clearly want a conversation about this plague of gun violence, so I'm pleased that my representative, Columbine's representative, is taking action to have that conversation in Congress," said Mauser. "We can't settle for the deadly status quo."
"Coming from a long line of hunters and gun owners, and being a gun owner myself, it is my passion to continue to uphold the 2nd amendment," said Jesse Ogas. "However it is also my responsibility and my duty, as an American, as a father, and as a community member to ensure that we all come together to figure out how to keep our children safe."
After the Newtown shooting, public calls for a comprehensive proposal to address gun violence have spread across the country. Current polls demonstrate support for measures like an assault weapon ban, high-capacity assault magazine ban and universal background checks. According to the Washington Post, the majority of Americans, 52%, support more comprehensive laws that will keep Americans safe from gun violence, including 59% who support a ban on assault weapons. The Pew Research Center found that 85% of Americans favor stronger background check, while a CBS News poll said 92% favor universal background checks.
"Over the past couple of weeks, a series of polls have demonstrated the public's support for these types of common-sense solutions," concluded DeGette. "These overwhelming majorities are encouraging -- but in order to ensure these reasonable ideas can be enacted, the support reflected in these polls must translate into a demand for action. It's going to take phone calls, and emails, and an unrelenting flood of voices of Americans to be heard by the leaders in Washington."