We join millions of other Americans, and the community of Newtown, in grief for the families of the children and adults killed on Friday. As parents, we cannot imagine the deep pain that such a tragedy leaves in its wake.
Our nation has endured far too many shootings and mass killings in the past few years. Each of us has had to confront public violence in our home states, with the 2011 Tucson shooting that took the lives of six and injured our colleague Gabby Giffords and the Accent Signage shooting in Minneapolis this fall that claimed six lives.
Such tragedies cannot be ignored or accepted as the new norm. As Co-Chairs of the largest Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives, we call on our colleagues to act now to address gun violence. Rather than waiting in vain for the next tragic event, we call for action now.
We should reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban, a law on the books until 2004 that prevented dangerous weapons from falling into the hands of violent criminals, and fully support implementation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to ensure dangerous individuals who are already barred by federal law from owning a gun cannot buy guns online or at gun shows. A strong national background check system will ensure that violent drug dealers, domestic abusers, murderers, or the criminally insane are not able to buy guns to hurt and kill others. This ban is supported by virtually every federal, state and local law enforcement agency and more than two thirds of the American people.
We should also limit the amount of deadly ammunition shooters can hold in a single magazine. The shooters in Tucson and in Aurora, Colorado, used high capacity magazines that allowed them to fire for extended periods without reloading. The shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary also had high-capacity magazines. There is no justified civilian purpose for firing dozens of rounds without stopping.
These tragedies extend beyond gun safety. Mental health care services are more difficult to access than any other type of medical service. Our country needs to make sure that services are accessible and affordable.
These common-sense steps enjoy the support of the American people. All they require are commitment from Congress. Friday's tragic shooting was an urgent call to action. We call on our colleagues to join us with a sense of great urgency to protect the American people from further unnecessary gun violence.