U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) and Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams on Tuesday welcomed President Obama’s new executive actions to reduce gun violence and make communities safer.
“With this historic action, President Obama has taken a significant step toward making America a safer place,” said Jeffries, whose 8th Congressional District includes parts of Brooklyn and Queens.
He noted that, over the past decade, more than 100,000 Americans have been killed as a result of gun violence.
“Many of these crimes were committed by people who never should have been able to purchase a gun in the first place,” said Jeffries, a key member of the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee and Congressional Black Caucus leadership.
“The overwhelming majority of Americans agree that every single person who purchases a gun should undergo a thorough background check,” he added. “House Republicans have done nothing to advance gun safety legislation, and continue to function as wholly-owned subsidiaries of the gun lobby.
“Enough is enough,” Jeffries continued. “It’s time for Congress to act.”
Williams, deputy leader of the City Council, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, commended the president for taking action to reduce the supply of illegal guns throughout our country.
“It is clear the president has a difficult task and is working against a Republican Congress owned by the NRA (National Rifle Association),” he said. “Still, he must move even further.”
As co-chair of the City Council’s Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, and as convener of the National Network to Combat Gun Violence, Williams said he knows “there are immediate steps we can take at all levels of government to actually address the demand for guns and violence.”
“The city can, and must, continue and increase its efforts to tackle the conditions that lead to violence,” he said. “Our young people need access to jobs, and we need increased funding for programs, such as the Crisis Management System, proven effective at combating violence and creating safer, supportive communities.”
“We have a responsibility to confront gun violence and take meaningful and immediate action, our city and our families depend on it,” Williams added.
As tears streamed down his cheeks, Obama on Tuesday assailed the gun violence that has reached across the United States, vowing to end the bloodshed with or without Congress.
“In this room right here, there are a lot of stories. There’s a lot of heartache,” he said in the White House East Room, flanked by relatives of those killed down in mass shootings, including former Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. “There’s a lot of resilience, there’s a lot of strength, but there’s also a lot of pain.”
“Each time this comes up,” Obama added, “we are fed the excuse that common-sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, or the one before that, so why bother trying. I reject that thinking.”
“We know we can’t stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world,” he continued. “But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence.”
Almost 21 million gun sales were processed through the background check system in 2014, but some industry analysts say as many as 40 percent more firearms could have been sold through private transactions not subject to background checks, according to the New York Times.