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Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) wears a protective mask while walking through the Canon Tunnel to the U.S. Capitol on January 12, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) is calling on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to rally his caucus to support "common-sense" gun law reform. (Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

House Dems Urge McConnell to Rally GOP Behind 'Common-Sense' Gun Reform

"Gun violence impacts all of us and is an existential threat to our lives and our democracy," said Rep. Jamaal Bowman, who led the letter.

Brett Wilkins

Calling U.S. gun violence "an epidemic of catastrophic proportions," Rep. Jamaal Bowman and 48 other House Democrats on Thursday sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging him to support "common-sense reforms" that will save lives. 

"Given how much is at stake, anything less than this would be a tragic, unacceptable obstruction to preventing gun violence and gun-related deaths."

Noting that "the U.S. gun death rate is 13 times greater than other high-income nations" and that "by this time each year, more Americans are killed with guns than in other high-income nations in an entire year," the letter calls for "meaningful and holistic solutions that put the needs of our constituents and communities first."

To that end, the lawmakers urge senators to pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act (H.R. 8) and the Enhanced Background Checks Act (H.R. 1446), both of which were approved by the House last year but have "sat unmoved in the Senate." 

Referring to the more than 20,000 people who were fatally shot in the U.S. last year, the letter implores McConnell (R-Ky.), "You can take action now to put a stop to this spike in gun violence and loss by rallying your Republican colleagues to join Democrats in passing H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446."

"Given how much is at stake, anything less than this would be a tragic, unacceptable obstruction to preventing gun violence and gun-related deaths," the lawmakers conclude. 

In a statement, Bowman (D-N.Y.) asserted that "guns are far too accessible in our communities and have led to crisis after crisis."

"For decades now we've seen school shootings torment our school campuses, taking innocent lives and leaving entire families and communities in despair," the congressman continued. "We've seen places of day-to-day activities like schools, houses of worship, music festivals, nightclubs, and spas become places of mass casualties all because guns were accessible to the wrong person."

"Gun violence impacts all of us and is an existential threat to our lives and our democracy," Bowman added. "We must end gun violence and passing H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446 out of the Senate sets us on the path to do that by enacting stronger and universal background checks."

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