Thompson to lead task force on gun violence
In the wake of last week’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., lawmakers are looking at ways to prevent such tragedies in the future. In that effort, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tapped Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Saint Helena, to lead a task force to investigate new steps Congress can take now and in the future to reduce gun violence.
“As we mourn the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, we must respond with more than words; we must take action. We must be able to tell our children that we are doing everything in our power to prevent this from happening again,” Pelosi said in a press release. “I am pleased to appoint Congressman Thompson to lead our task force to reduce and prevent gun violence.”
Pelosi cited Thompson’s history as a Vietnam veteran and his hobby of hunting as reasons why he’d be “ideally suited” to lead a bipartisan effort to ban assault weapons and assault magazines.
“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 in the release. “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 said he was honored to be selected, and his efforts will dovetail with auxiliary campaigns of the White House and Senate. President Barack Obama has charged Vice President Joe Biden with leading a task force to make its own proposals on gun safety to Congress.
Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Dianne Fienstein announced plans to reintroduce a ban on assault weapons, after the original ban on assault weapons, which she sponsored in 1994, lapsed in 2004.