Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, issued the following statement Wednesday in response to President Barack Obama’s recommendations on reducing gun violence in America.
The recommendations are a result of Vice President Joe Biden’s Gun Violence Prevention Task Force meetings with key stakeholders, including gun violence victims, law enforcement and gun owners.
“The Obama administration has put forward a comprehensive package of recommendations that take a holistic approach toward reducing and preventing gun violence in America, balancing public safety needs with protecting the rights of law abiding citizens to own a gun,” Capps said. “Many of the main proposals include commonsense policies I already support, including requiring universal background checks, banning military style assault weapons, banning high-capacity ammunition magazines that allow a gunman to fire dozens of rounds in less than a minute, and strengthening gun trafficking laws will help keep guns out of the hands of criminals. I look forward to reviewing the entirety of the package and meeting with local stakeholders to see how these ideas could keep Central Coast communities safe.
“Importantly, the president reiterated the need to build upon steps taken in recent years to improve access to mental health services. While we’ve made great strides to ensure that mental health services are covered by insurance companies on par with services for physical ailments, we know that there are still far too many Americans who fall through the cracks of our mental health care system. And, we need to improve support services for families affected by mental illness. Caring for a family member with a mental illness can be just as trying as caring for a family member with a physical one.
“Finally, we also need to ensure that our laws are clear and that there are procedures in place to help make sure we’re able to prevent deeply mentally disturbed individuals from obtaining firearms.
“The president has also spelled out a number of sensible proposals to make our schools safer, including increasing resources for schools that want safety officers and additional school mental health personnel. We have a responsibility to ensure that an adequate number of professionals are employed at our schools to work with our kids to keep them safe.
“I think we can all agree that while responsible, law-abiding Americans have the right to own a gun, as a country we have the responsibility to enact reasonable policies to help reduce everyday incidents of gun violence that claim the lives of 32,000 Americans every year. While we will never be able to guarantee that we can prevent another shooting like Newtown we owe it to the victims of Sandy Hook and their families, and all of the victims of gun violence in America, to do all we can to attempt to reduce the level of gun violence in our society.”
— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.