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Lois Capps Takes Isla Vista Killings to Congress

Santa Barbara's Congresswoman Makes Plea for Gun Safety


Thursday, May 29, 2014

On May 29, Congresswoman Lois Capps made a plea for gun safety in light of the recent tragedies in Isla Vista. Here is the text of her speech in their entirety, as well as the video from the hearing:

Mr. Speaker, on Friday night, my home community was rocked by unspeakable violence, which left 6 students and their assailant dead and 13 others injured.

Friday’s rampage in Isla Vista has touched each of us in a powerful way.

I.V., as it is affectionately called, is a special place where people know their neighbors.

Everyone is presumed to be a friend, and bikes are more common than cars.

But on Friday, I.V. joined a growing list of small communities touched by unspeakable violence.

Today we continue to mourn those we lost: George Chen, Cheng “James” Yuan Hong; Weihan “David” Wang, Katherine Breann Cooper; Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez; and Veronika Weiss.

We reach out to the injured who need our support as they heal. And we pray for the many others affected—including the families and friends the victims left behind. Our community grieves.

And we struggle to make sense of the senseless.

For some, this sadness and grief is also a frustration—frustration that more could have and should have been done to prevent this tragedy from the start.

Tucson. Carson City. Seal Beach. Atlanta. Oakland. Seattle. Aurora. Oak Creek. Minneapolis. Newtown. Washington Navy Yard. Santa Monica. Ft. Hood.

How many more of these mass shootings do we need before we act?

We have all seen how a violent incident can bring public attention to the need for sensible gun safety measures. We know that we must keep these weapons out of the hands of violent individuals.

But all too quickly the attention fades, the drumbeat quiets, and we are left with inaction.

I sincerely hope that this time will be different.

But it won’t be unless we, as Congress, act. The American public wants universal background checks, limits on high-capacity magazines, increased school safety, and stronger gun trafficking penalties. This is the least we can do.

We also need to make sure that our systems talk to each other so that no one falls through the cracks.

It is clear that we need to do more to ensure that our mental health system and law enforcement can work together to identify potentially dangerous individuals.

We need to ensure that parents who are concerned that their son might be a danger to himself or others have a meaningful way to seek help.

And we need to ensure that we use the many new tools available, including social media, so that when threats are made on the internet they are taken seriously.

The American public’s message to Congress is clear—Not One More.

Not One More life should be lost.

Not One More family should have to grieve like this.

Not One More community should be added to this list.

Gun safety and the Second Amendment are not mutually exclusive. Law-abiding Americans have the right to own a gun, but each of us also deserves to feel safe in our homes and communities.

Over the next few weeks I will be meeting with local and national advocates on these issues and others to identify the gaps and propose ways to fix them.

But no matter how many bills researched, supported, and proposed we need our House leadership to commit to us—and the American people—that we will have a vote.

Bills may pass, they may fail, but the American people have a right to know where their elected representatives stand.

So I join the chorus of those who are rightly frustrated with the system and with Congress—Not One More.

And I implore my colleagues to make sure that it has yet another meaning: Not One More tragedy, followed by inaction. This time can be different, and it’s up to us.

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