Larsen: Tragedy in Newtown Must Lead to Congressional Action on Guns and Other Measures to Make Our Communities Safer

Dec 17, 2012

WASHINGTON—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, issued the following statement regarding the shootings in Newtown, Conn., that claimed the lives of 20 children and eight adults including the shooter.

“My family and I join all Americans in grieving for the children, teachers and staff who had their lives taken from them in the vicious attacks at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Larsen said. “As the first children are laid to rest today, we must pledge never to forget the victims of this senseless act of violence.

“From the attack on Congresswoman Giffords that left six dead to the shootings in Colorado, Wisconsin, Oregon and Connecticut, it is too painfully clear that we must take meaningful action to make our communities safer. The 2008 Skagit County mass shootings that killed six brought this type of tragedy to our home. No single law can prevent the actions of a madman, but that is no excuse to not take action.

“I continue to hold my position that Congress should reinstate the assault weapons ban and ban high-capacity ammunition clips above 10 rounds per clip, as proposed by Rep. McCarthy. These military-grade weapons serve no legitimate purpose in civilian life.

“We must close the gun show and private sale loopholes and strengthen background check requirements to make sure that criminals and the mentally ill are unable to purchase guns.

“Gun control is part, but not all of the solution. Mental illness has been shown to be a factor in some of these mass shootings. Mental illnesses are often misunderstood and under-diagnosed. Health providers need to give mental health the same attention that physical health is given. Congress should direct more research into mental illness and provide more funding for effective care of mentally ill patients.

“We have not seen the last of violent crimes in our country, but if Congress and the President act, we can make our communities safer and shrink this cycle of violence.”