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October 08, 2015

King Renews Push to Curb Gun Violence in America

Calls on Congress to pass comprehensive, common-sense gun safety and mental health measures

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following last week’s tragedy at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today renewed his push to enact common-sense gun safety legislation and take action to reform the mental health system in an effort to curb gun violence in America.

“We’re here today because of one more incident in a depressingly familiar series of mass shootings. All over the country this is happening in a repetitive way, and it’s important to use this occasion to reflect upon the dangers that we are ignoring – the epidemic that we are ignoring,” Senator King said. “We must move in a comprehensive way, not only here on the federal level but on the state level as well – not to compromise the second amendment, not to take the guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, but to put into place common-sense solutions to deal with this epidemic of gun violence.”

In his remarks on the Senate floor today, Senator King called for a comprehensive solution that improves the country’s mental health system, strengthens the national background check program, and allows states the flexibility to tailor solutions to their specific needs.

Senator King supports the Mental Health Reform Act of 2015, legislation that would comprehensively overhaul and strengthen America’s mental health care system, and today he also endorsed a set of legislative principles unveiled today by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that would:

  • close loopholes that allow people to purchase guns without having first passed a background check.
  • strengthen the national background check system by making sure that all domestic abusers are prohibited from purchasing guns and that states submit all relevant records to the federal database.
  • make straw purchasing and gun trafficking federal crimes to help give law enforcement the tools it needs to stop the flood of illegal weapons across state lines.

These types of sensible reforms, Senator King observed, could help keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of those who should not have them while also respecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.

Senator King also noted in his remarks that, historically, when natural disasters health crises confront America, Congress has acted to address the problem and that the epidemic of gun violence should be no different:

            “The American people send us here to address issues, to address problems. On September 11th, Congress acted. After Sandy and Katrina, Congress acted. During the Ebola crisis, Congress and the American health system acted,” Senator King said. “Why? Because we love each other and we value each other – and it seems to me this is exactly the same case.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 400,000 people died by firearms in the United States from 2001 to 2013, which is more than 30,000 people per year on average – one-third of which are deemed homicides.

Senator King’s full remarks on the Senate floor today are available HERE.


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