One day after being sworn into office as a member of the 113th Congress, Jackie Speier was named as a Vice Chair of a new congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force led by Congressman Mike Thompson (D-Napa). The task force will investigate new steps Congress can take now and in the future to reduce gun violence and prevent massacres like the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
“We can turn the corner on gun violence with bold leadership and action. The victims of Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, Virginia Tech and Tucson deserve no less. It is time for Congress to enact common sense violence prevention laws that keep assault weapons and high capacity assault magazines out of our communities and require full background checks on all gun purchases,” said Speier in a release.
Speier has first hand knowledge of gun violence. She was Legislative Counsel to Congressman Leo Ryan in 1978 when she accompanied him to investigate the People’s Temple cult in Jonestown, Guyana. Congressman Ryan was assassinated, and Speier was shot five times at close range. She still carries two of the bullets in her body. Since that time, she has been a consistent advocate of gun control, and carried assault weapons ban legislation in California twenty years ago.
“It’s important to note that every day brings the equivalent of a mass murder when 33 people are killed in this country at the hands of guns,” said Speier in the release. “Enough is enough. It’s time to put public safety and public health first.”
Over the next month the task force will hold a number of meetings and hearings with different experts designed to identify the best policies to reduce and prevent gun violence. A comprehensive set of policy proposals will be released by the task force in early February.
Regarding her role in the 113th Congress Speier said, “It is a privilege to serve my constituents in the 14th District of California and all Americans. I pray we will come together to find solutions for the many challenges that confront us and heed the words of our Congressional seal --E Pluribus Unum: Out of many, one.”
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