Rep. John Lewis Supports President Obama's Action on Gun Violence
Gun violence destroys the lives, the hopes, the dreams and aspirations of so many people. In the last decade we have buried more than 20,000 children under the age of 18 killed in gun-related incidents. I, and many other Americans, share the President’s pain that we could not find the courage to take action after the tragedy in Newtown and are still struggling to respond to the daily violence on city streets in America. This morning President Obama took critical and important steps to try to stem the crisis of gun violence in America.
Although the U.S. is the undisputed leader of the free world, this nation ranks 94th out of 162 countries on the Global Peace Index. More than 30,000 people are killed in this country every year due to gun violence; and more than 20,000 suicides are committed involving guns.
We must face the hard facts: gun violence occurs at epidemic proportions in this country. The initiatives that President Obama announced are proactive and inclusive. Strengthening background check requirements and gun safety measures, adding more federal agents to the field, seeking to prevent suicide fatalities, and engaging manufacturers and retail agents are common-sense, concrete steps to reduce gun violence in our country.
In response to persistent mass shootings, the President has repeatedly asked Congress to use its significant power to protect Americans. Instead, the Republican Majority has actually made it easier to purchase deadly assault weapons and lifted common sense restrictions.
After countless, possibly preventable acts of violence, Congress has failed to answer the American public’s call. We must see the President's initiatives as an invitation to do what only we as legislators can do. We must fulfill our responsibility and duty to protect Americans. We can find a way to strike a balance between freedom and safe use of firearms. Leaders must lead.