A Step Forward

March 1, 2019
The gun violence epidemic has ravaged communities across America and gripped our country for generations. Several years ago, we spoke to gun safety advocates in Oregon that have lost loved ones and had their lives irreversibly impacted by gun violence. Their testimonies helped me put together a comprehensive plan to address the gun violence epidemic. Thanks to the work of these passionate activists in Oregon and around the country calling on Congress to act, like my dear friend, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, yesterday the House passed H.R. 8 to require universal backgrounds checks for any gun purchases.
The evidence is clear: when action is taken to reduce gun violence, fewer lives are lost.
Implementing universal background checks is a foundational step necessary to ensure the effectiveness of all gun laws. In the ten states with the strongest gun laws, Americans are three times less likely to die from gun violence then in the states with the weakest.
This is the first step in an approach that our advocates and survivors helped us come to. Our work with activists helped give us a Congress that will finally act, and leadership that will finally lead, so we can finally treat gun violence like the public health crisis that it is. We are now in a position that will allow Congress to make progress on gun safety legislation, instead of avoiding it. This should have happened years ago. My colleagues and I in the House are committed to making our communities safer, so that the days of fear in our schools, movie theaters, college campuses, and work-places will soon come to an end. This is the first step of many and I hope my colleagues in the Senate take seriously this epidemic. It is time to make commonsense gun safety the law of the land. 
Earl Blumenauer
Member of Congress