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Broad Coalition Backs Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Policy Principles

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

A broad coalition of groups back the House's Gun Violence Prevention Task Force's Policy Principles. The task force, chaired by Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) released a comprehensive set of policy principles that both respect the Second Amendment and will reduce gun violence last week. The complete set of principles can be seen here.

"Folks on all sides of this issue agree that we need a comprehensive approach to reduce gun violence," said Thompson. "Our task force's comprehensive set of policy principles both respect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans and will reduce gun violence. It's time for people on both sides of the aisle to work together and get legislation based on these principles signed into law."

Organizations and groups backing the task force's policy principles include:
Mark Glaze, Director, Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Mayors Against Illegal Guns and our 1.25 million grassroots supporters know that support for the Second Amendment goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals . We applaud the extraordinary work Chairman Thompson and the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force are doing to enact common-sense reforms like background checks for all gun sales, removing military-style assault weapons from our streets and gun trafficking legislation. These sensible reforms will save American lives and keep our children safe.

Chuck Canterbury, National President, Fraternal Order of Police
The FOP strongly supports several measures, all absolutely critical elements of addressing gun violence, in the comprehensive plan put out by the Gun Violence prevention Task Force. With the horrible tragedy in Newtown, the increased number of mass shootings in our country, and, candidly, the gun violence which happens on some scale every day in big and small municipalities across the county, many plans are being offered to curb the violence and better protect our citizens. We are happy to see many of the ideas we discussed in Task Force meetings were included in your plan.

Arkadi Gerney, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
We applaud the House Democrats for joining President Barack Obama in putting forward a comprehensive and common-sense plan to combat gun violence. The House task force plan addresses the two most important challenges we face: keeping military-grade weapons off the streets; and keeping all guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill. We urge the House and Senate Republican leadership to also come to the table with a plan to help prevent gun violence because that's what the American people expect and deserve.

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
We thank Chairman Congressman Mike Thompson for his tremendous leadership in helping to move this issue forward. The package of recommendations is a comprehensive set of solutions that would make a major impact on reducing gun violence. We look to Congress to take action, and we also know that now it's up to us. We need to continue to let our voices be heard so that leaders like Congressman Thompson and all of those members in Washington can be forceful advocates in the debate for change. As a nation, we know we are better than this, and the recommendations put forth by the Congressional task force are a important step in reaching our goals.

Josh Horwitz, Executive Director, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) applauds the comprehensive policy principles developed by the House Democratic Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. These recommendations, if implemented, would save countless American lives in the years ahead by keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals and giving law enforcement the tools they need to prevent and solve gun crimes.

We support all of the major elements of the task force's package, including your calls for universal background checks on all gun sales, a renewal of the federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, enhanced criminal penalties for straw purchasers and firearms traffickers, and the elimination of restrictions on federally-funded research into the causes of gun violence. Along with partners in the gun violence prevention movement, we will be mobilizing grassroots activists across the country to support these recommendations.

Georges Benjamin, MD, Executive Director, American Public Health Association:
The American Public Health Association commends the U.S. House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force for releasing a set of comprehensive policy recommendations today that follow evidence-based public health principles to address the growing crisis of gun violence facing communities across the country.

Today's proposal includes a range of sensible and critically needed measures to prevent gun violence, a leading cause of preventable death in this country, including restoring unrestricted funding to conduct research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the causes of gun violence and how to prevent it.

The plan also takes important steps to close serious gaps in local, state and federal gun policies by banning the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, mandating background checks for all gun purchases and improving access to mental health care in this country, clarifying that doctors are not prohibited from discussing gun safety with their patients among other proposals. They hold tremendous potential to dramatically reduce the scourge of gun violence in neighborhoods across the country.

Mary Kusler, Director of Government Relations, National Education Association
On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association -- dedicated educators who serve and protect millions of children every day -- we would like to commend the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force for releasing comprehensive recommendations to address the gun violence plaguing our nation.

We would like to thank you for the inclusive nature of your work, and particularly your efforts to ensure that all voices were at the table to provide input. NEA was very pleased to be able to represent educator concerns and provide recommendations to the Task Force that reflected educators' experience and expertise.

NEA supports the Task Force recommendation regarding school safety. We are particularly pleased that the Task Force is recommending "an evidence-based approach to supporting a safe learning environment that is tailored to the unique needs of the students and local community." We believe it is critical that local districts be given the flexibility and authority to decide what sorts of supports and personnel they need to ensure the safety of their students and staff. We also strongly agree that all school personnel must have resources and training to implement safety plans. Finally, we are very pleased that the Task Force is recommending that safety policies "promote a positive school climate that meets both the learning and emotional needs of all students." Safer, more nurturing school climates that include positive student supports and anti-bullying initiatives will help students find non-violent alternatives to resolve conflicts and will allow staff to identify and address potential problems before they escalate.

The National Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Coalition
The tragic December 14th shootings in Newtown, Connecticut shook our nation's confidence in its ability to prevent violence and keep our children and our communities safe. It also strengthened our resolve to prevent future violence. The grief and anguish connected with the violence in Newtown cause us to remember that in far too many communities, violence is commonplace; an everyday occurrence...Across the country, people are searching for answers. The NJJDPC views this as a critical moment to invest more broadly in the true safety of proven strategies, not in the false sense of security of arming teachers or increasing police presence in every school. It is our view that true safety will not result from having more guns in schools or other places where youth congregate. True safety comes from comprehensive, evidence-based approaches that have been demonstrated to reduce violence.

The National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC) endorsed the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force recommendations on juvenile justice.

Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence
Faiths United To Prevent Gun Violence, a coalition of over 40 national faith denominations and organizations commend the Recommendations released by the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force led by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA). The Recommendations include all three of the gun violence prevention policies which forty-seven top national faith leaders urged President Obama and Congress to enact in the attached letter sent on January 15.
1. Mandating universal background checks on every gun purchased, including those bought at gun shows or in private sales.
2. Banning high-capacity magazines and implementing a rigorous ban on assault weapons.
3. Imposing stronger penalties on gun trafficking.

Now that both President Obama and the Task Force have endorsed these life-saving policies, we urge that Congress enact them as soon as possible.

General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church
The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) welcomes the findings released today by the U.S. House of Representatives' Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Chaired by Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., the task force's findings support Vice-President Biden's task force in proposing a strong plan to reduce gun violence in the United States. GBCS urges Congress to work on this issue immediately so that no more lives are lost to any further unnecessary tragedies.

We believe Congress has a moral imperative to enact many of the life-saving measures proposed by the House task force so that we do not have any further tragedies like Tucson, Aurora, Newtown or the numerous victims of gun violence even since the shooting in Newtown," said Jim Winkler, GBCS chief executive.

The release of the findings by the House task force is part of the growing momentum towards real and necessary reform that has been building since the tragedy last fall in Newtown, according to Winkler. Preceding the release of the House findings, President Obama and Vice President Biden have both spoken repeatedly in favor of needed reforms to keep communities safe.

Entertainment Software Association
We commend Congressman Thompson and the members of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force for its comprehensive overview of the causes of gun violence and its thoughtful recommendations. The video game industry is committed to continuing our longstanding effort to provide parents the tools they need to make appropriate entertainment decisions for their families. As the report notes, the Entertainment Software Rating Board is widely utilized by parents and widely acknowledged by the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Supreme Court, among others, as extremely effective. We thank Congressman Thompson for his leadership and thorough analysis, and look forward to continued discussions with elected officials in the important dialogue that seeks real solutions to this national problem.

Brian Dyak, President and CEO, Entertainment Industries Council
Gun violence, firearm safety and injury prevention is a detailed discussion with many intersections, including mental health. We must harness the power of the entertainment industry and news media to encourage safety and injury prevention and accurately address mental health concerns that would foster help-seeking behavior.

The Sentencing Project
Among our most solemn responsibilities as a nation is to protect and nurture our children. Unfortunately, we have seen a troubling shift in our response to at-risk youth in recent decades. When crises strike, there is often a temptation to tighten sanctions and add new punishments, but we know that these actions have a disparate effect on youth--especially youth of color--long after the crisis has passed. We commend the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force for recognizing that comprehensive, evidence-based solutions in the areas/neighborhoods/jurisdictions where they are needed are necessary to build strong communities and keep our children safe.

Josh Sugarmann, Executive Director, Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center (VPC) applauds the comprehensive set of principles put forward today by the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. The task force's careful and deliberative approach to the problem of gun violence acknowledges that there is no one solution to this complicated issue. The tragedy in my home town of Newtown has galvanized the American public and the Violence Policy Center looks forward to working with a broad coalition of organizations and policymakers to implement the strong new laws endorsed by the House task force. These proposals will save lives and make all Americans safer in their schools, workplaces, and public spaces.

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