Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-5), chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force in the House, today released the following statement on the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on gun violence.
"Gun violence is a complex problem with complex solutions. To address it, we need a comprehensive approach that's developed by having every idea on the table and everyone at the table. That's the approach my task force has taken since day one, and it's the approach the Senate started today.
"As a hunter and gun owner I will not give up my guns and I will not ask other law-abiding Americans to give up theirs. Not only am I personally against this, the Supreme Court made it clear in the Heller case that the Constitution won't allow it. But as a father and grandfather, I also know we have a responsibility to keep our kids, communities and country safe from gun violence.
"This debate isn't a choice between either protecting the Second Amendment or reducing gun violence. It's about the willingness of a responsible majority to do both. By working together -- both across the aisle and between Congressional chambers and branches of government -- we can put policies in place that reduce gun violence and respect the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans."
In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court affirmed that Americans have an individual right to keep and bear arms. The court also affirmed that there is no constitutional problem with certain limitations. This ruling provides people with an opportunity to work between the extremes and within the confines of the Second Amendment to pass legislation that will reduce gun violence.
Thompson was named to chair a congressional task force on reducing and preventing gun violence in December. Thompson is a hunter, gun owner, former chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, and veteran who carried a military-style assault weapon during a tour in Vietnam.
The task force is holding a number of meetings and hearings with different experts designed to identify the best policies to reduce and prevent gun violence. A comprehensive set of policy proposals will be released in early February.