House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced at a Wednesday press conference that Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) will lead a new task force focused on reducing gun violence in the wake of Friday's tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Thompson, a former co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, said in a statement that "something must be done" to prevent further tragedy.
“I am a gun owner, hunter, former co-chair of the Congressional Sportsman Caucus, supporter of the second Amendment and a combat veteran who carried an assault rifle in Vietnam,” Thompson said. “I understand guns, their purpose and how they are used. Military-type assault weapons and assault magazines have no place on our streets or in our communities. We also need to consider instituting more detailed background checks and making sure appropriate mental health services are available. As chair of this task force I will be working on these issues as part of a comprehensive approach to reduce gun violence and strengthen our nation’s gun laws while protecting law abiding citizens’ right to own legitimate firearms.”
Thompson is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a dwindling group of moderate House Democrats. He represents California's 5th congressional district.
Pelosi's announcement comes just one day after House Democrats pushed for a vote on legislation banning the manufacturing of high-capacity magazines.
"Right away we could pass ... we could pass the ban on the assault magazine," Pelosi said during an interview with MSNBC. "Just to ban the magazine, the assault magazine, we could do it right now."
President Obama is forming a task force of his own on gun violence prevention. That initiative will be led by Vice President Joe Biden.