U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, in the aftermath of the deadly mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton that left communities devastated, joined Lower Hudson Valley students, survivors, relatives of victims, activists, local law enforcement and medical researchers for a roundtable discussion on gun violence and prevention.
During the event at Greenburgh Public Library on Monday, Aug. 12, Lowey heard directly from participants about the need for commonsense gun safety reform and discussed her efforts to prevent gun violence.
“The mass shootings that we’ve seen in the past few weeks yet again shook me to my core,” said Lowey, who represents Westchester and Rockland counties. “I’m furious, but I am committed to using my anger as further motivation to create change. These massacres deserve action and a commitment to bringing mass killings in this country to an end. We need a dynamic approach to tackling gun violence that combines activism, law enforcement, and strong legislation to bring safety and stability back to our communities. The passage of universal background checks and an assault weapons ban is long overdue.”
Along with her vocal support of legislation to ban assault weapons and online sale of ammunition and enhance background checks, Lowey has taken historic action as chair of the House Appropriations Committee to end the gun violence epidemic. This spring, her Committee held its first hearing in more than 20 years on gun violence prevention research and included $50 million in the House-passed health spending bill, split between Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, to support firearm injury and mortality prevention research. This was the first time funds for this purpose passed the House since Fiscal Year 1997.
“I am so grateful to live in a congressional district where the importance of gun safety is a top priority,” said Erin Fuller Brian, co-president of Brady Westchester. “As a survivor of gun violence, it is invaluable to me to have these views represented in Congress by someone who not only takes the time to listen to their constituents but is truly invested in curbing the gun violence that is so rampant in our country.”
“As parents, teachers and American citizens - we must do better,” said Joseph Ricca, superintendent of White Plains Public Schools. “Thankfully, Congresswoman Lowey is once again out in front leading and calling for common sense gun control. For the sake of our children and our future, we must act now to ban high caliber assault weapons and strengthen our background checking systems. We can protect both our citizens and the Second Amendment-but action is required now.”
“We should all be free to live without the fear of being shot,” said Barry Graubart, NYS Deputy Chapter Leader, Advocacy, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Once again, gun violence has torn apart the lives of Americans. No single law can stop all gun violence, but there’s so much more we must do to keep our families safe. The House of Representatives has already passed a bill to require background checks on all gun sales. Now, the Senate must immediately act on background checks and pass a strong Red Flag bill.”
“Gun violence in the U.S. is a public health and public safety crisis, with almost 300 people shot every day, 90 fatally — a mortality rate that dwarfs other public health threats such as HIV or food poisoning,” said Charles Branas, PhD, chair of epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. “Bold, system-wide changes were made to our water and roadways to improve public health, yet for decades there has been an unconscionable lack of federal investment in research to prevent gun violence. I commend Representatives Lowey and DeLauro for supporting scientific research on the causes of gun violence to help develop programs and policies that will reduce the health, economic, and societal burden of firearm injuries and deaths.”
Lowey is a member of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and has been a leader in fighting to prevent gun violence, including working to strengthen background checks, close the terror gap loophole, and ban assault weapons. Last week, Lowey and more than 210 Democratic House colleagues sent this letter to Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling on him to bring the Senate back into session and pass H.R. 8, Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act. Congresswoman Lowey is also a cosponsor of numerous other gun violence prevention bills including the H.R. 686, Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act, which would require federally licensed ammunition dealers to confirm the identity of individuals who arrange to purchase ammunition over the internet by verifying a photo I.D. in-person.
“Make no mistake: this is not just a mental health issue, it’s a guns issue,” said Lowey, a Democrat from Harrison. “We cannot let our country continue to devolve into a hub of fear. I’m inspired by the discussions we’ve had today and looking forward to working with all of you to combat the President’s racist, anti-immigrant, hate-filled rhetoric and fight to change gun laws in this country once and for all.”