In honor of National Gun Violence Awareness Day, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, held a virtual town hall Friday with Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, to address constituent frustrations about gun violence prevention.
Eshoo and Thompson both expressed dissatisfaction with the state of gun laws on the heels of the recent tragedies in Uvalde, Texas; Buffalo, New York; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Citing the over 200 mass shooting in 2022 so far, Eshoo mirrored the concerns of her constituents with the seeming lack of action from lawmakers, especially those in the U.S. Senate, she said.
To reduce the reported 110 daily gun deaths in the country, Eshoo and Thompson look forward to the upcoming House vote on the Protecting Our Kids Act, co-sponsored by Thompson.
The bill would raise the age for purchasing semiautomatic weapons, criminalize importing, selling, and manufacturing large-capacity magazines, and regulate firearms storage.
Current federal firearms regulations would apply to so-called ghost guns, unregistered and untraceable firearms. They are optimistic for bipartisan support in the House; Thompson says it may be difficult to get in the Senate.
When constituents inquired about possible school changes to lessen threats of violence, the representatives spoke in support of background checks, which may be a more sustainable solution.
"After all the schools are fixed, do we harden all the music venues? All the grocery stores? All the post offices? All the churches?" said Thompson. "There's no way that you can make every place immune to any type of attack."
Teacher and Moms Demand Action representative Rudy Espinoza shared a testimony emphasizing the importance of responsible gun ownership. He was in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016, and could have been a victim in the nightclub shooting at Pulse. Instead, he decided to stay in with friends.
"When we woke up that morning, we found out that 49 people had been killed at Pulse nightclub in Orlando," said Espinoza. "And it was in that moment that I knew that I was the target there."
The House will vote on the Protecting Our Kids Act sometime next week, according to a letter from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco. The Senate may take a different approach by compromising on legislation in the hopes of gaining enough GOP approval to become law, Thompson said.