State News
December 21, 2015

Sanders calls for common-sense gun safety legislation

Following the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, on Wednesday, Dec. 2, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called for sensible gun safety legislation at a press conference with his Democratic colleagues in the Senate.

His remarks are transcribed here:

“Here is the very sad truth and that is that it is very difficult for the American people to keep up with the mass shootings that we seem to see almost every day. Yesterday, San Bernardino, a few days ago, Colorado Springs, before that Roseburg, Oregon, before that Chattanooga, Tennessee, and on and on it goes.

“The San Bernardino shooting was the 355th mass shooting this year. Gun violence has reached epidemic levels in the United States. Over the past decade, 275,000 Americans have been killed by guns.

“Let me paraphrase what President Obama said recently. And what he said is, this is not an easy problem to solve. But just because it is not an easy problem to solve does not mean that we should not do everything that we can. Now the bad news is that this nation is divided over gun legislation. That’s a simple fact. That’s a political reality. But the good news is there is a broad consensus, perhaps 60, 70 percent of the American people who agree on common sense gun safety legislation. And here is what that consensus is about, supported by a strong majority of the American people.

“We need to significantly expand and improve background checks. Who is arguing that people who should not have guns because of a criminal background, because of mental problems should not be able to purchase guns? Very few Americans disagree with that.

“We need to renew the assault weapons ban. We need to end the sale of high capacity magazines. We need to make gun trafficking a federal crime and give law enforcement the tools they need to get illegal guns off the streets. We need to close the gun show loophole, as well as loopholes that allow gun purchasers to buy a gun after the waiting period expires without a completed background check. We need to close loopholes that allow domestic abusers and stalkers to obtain guns. We need to strengthen penalties for straw purchasers who buy guns from licensed dealers on behalf of someone prohibited from purchasing a gun.

“And very significantly, we need to greatly expand and improve our mental health capabilities. The sad reality is that in America today there are many thousands of people who are walking our streets who are suicidal or homicidal. And these people need treatment when they need treatment, regardless of their income, regardless of their insurance status. When they are in crisis they should be able to get treatment today, not two months from now.

“These are just some of the ideas that in fact are supported by the vast majority of the American people, and it’s time the Congress moved forward in response.”

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