McBath, Thompson, Clark, Aguilar, Neguse, Kelly Mark Gun Violence Awareness Month

Members held a press conference marking the start of gun violence awareness month and the upcoming two-year anniversary of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

June 5, 2024

Washington, DC — On Tuesday, Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-07), Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chair Mike Thompson (CA-04), Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (MA-05), House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (CA-33), House Assistant Minority Leader Joe Neguse (CO-02), and Rep. Robin Kelly (IL-02) held a press conference marking the start of Gun Violence Awareness Month and the upcoming two-year anniversary of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

“I came to Congress after my son was murdered by a man with a gun. For years, I had been a mother crying out to our elected officials to take action to end the horror of gun violence that ripped apart families like mine and put dread in the hearts of parents,” said Rep. McBath. “Through bipartisan steps in Congress and the work of the Biden-Harris Administration, the tides are changing. I feel my son’s legacy every single day in this work, and I was proud to join my colleagues on the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force today to kick off Gun Violence Awareness Month as we continue this fight to save lives.”

“It’s the 156th day of the year and our country has already experienced 197 mass shootings. That’s unacceptable,” said Rep. Mike Thompson, Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “Two years ago this month, Democrats helped pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, cementing the most significant gun violence prevention law in thirty years. But our work isn’t done. While Democrats push for progress, Republicans stand in the way of safer communities. This June, during Gun Violence Prevention Month, we are recommitting ourselves to keep up the fight against gun violence.”    

“Two years ago this month, Democrats enacted the Safer Communities Act — the most significant effort to save kids from gun violence since before my own children were even born. It was a once-in-a-generation kind of achievement. But it shouldn’t be,” said Democratic Whip Katherine Clark. “As Democrats have always made clear, this law is just the first step. But under this Republican Majority, we have seen nothing but cruel inaction. Not one vote to save a single life. That’s the difference between the two sides of the aisle. Republicans are here to pull stunts. Democrats are here to solve problems.”

“Two years ago, Democrats and Republicans came together in the most significant piece of legislation that we have been able to accomplish in the last 30 years,” said Chair Pete Aguilar. “We urge House Republicans to join us to protect our kids and their futures, and to come to the table to find a meaningful path forward to end gun violence once and for all.”

“Coloradans and Americans across our country are demanding that the United States Congress do something about the scourge of gun violence,” said Assistant Leader Joe Neguse. “And House Democrats have risen to the occasion — heeded that call. You heard from Chairman Thompson, from Chairman Aguilar, from Whip Clark about the work we did just a few short years ago to get the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act across the finish line — not the last step, but an important first step.”

“The American people intimately know the impact of gun violence too well,” said Rep. Robin Kelly. “Every year, 43,000 people die from gun violence. Behind each of those deaths are family members, loved ones, coworkers, and friends who miss them every day. The toll of gun violence should move Congress to action, yet many of my colleagues across the aisle don’t even recognize gun violence as a problem. We must choose to change course and save lives. Inaction is not an option.”

The tragic death of Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed at age fifteen just days after performing at President Obama’s second inauguration, inspired the creation of Gun Violence Awareness Day on the first Friday in June. Gun Violence Awareness Month is recognized as an extension of the day. 

The Gun Violence Prevention Task Force was founded in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 when 20 students and 6 educators were slaughtered in a senseless act of violence. This group, consisting of 180 Members of Congress, is devoted to finding commonsense solutions to our nation's ongoing gun violence epidemic. Rep. McBath serves as Vice Chair of the Task Force.

Task Force members helped pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), the most consequential gun violence prevention legislation signed into law in decades. President Biden signed the BSCA into law in June of 2022. 

The BSCA: 

  • Provided $750 million for State Crisis Intervention Programs (includes Red Flag laws)
  • Closed the “Boyfriend Loophole” 
  • Tightened the definition of “Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer” to ensure more firearm sales require a background check
  • Enhanced background checks for 18 to 20-year-olds to ensure that juvenile records are considered in the background check process
  • Created federal straw purchasing and trafficking criminal offenses, allowing prosecutors to target dangerous illegal gunrunners
  • Provided $250 million for Community Violence Intervention Programs
  • Invested in children and family mental health services
  • Increased funding for school safety, school mental health resources, and school resource officers