WASHINGTON– The co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), released the following statement on President Obama’s executive action to reduce gun violence:

“We applaud President Obama for taking this step to address gun violence in America. Expanding background checks and increasing funding for law enforcement and mental health are crucial if we want to end the gun violence epidemic. President Obama has laid a benchmark for our next president to build on, and set an example Members of Congress should follow in working to ensure dangerous weapons don’t fall into the wrong hands.

“States with stricter gun protections have fewer deaths from gun related violence. Yet Republicans continue to ignore overwhelming public support for commonsense gun safety protections for the sake of the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby. America is the only advanced country on earth that experiences gun violence on such a scale. We are proud of President Obama for taking these steps, but we need to do more.

“Congress must take aggressive action and go beyond what the president’s executive order will accomplish. We need to ban assault weapons, ensure federal funds for gun buyback programs, and pursue comprehensive reform of our gun laws. Only then will we be able to fight the epidemic of gun violence in America.”

Following the Newtown shooting, the Congressional Progressive Caucus adopted a resolution calling for:

1.      Banning the sale of military-style assault weapons as well as high-capacity magazines or clips that can hold more than 10 bullets at a time;

2.     Requiring all gun buyers to pass a criminal background check, no matter how they purchase the weapon; and,

3.     Supporting the availability and funding of mental health and substance abuse treatment so all individuals who are in need of help have sufficient access to these services, and the support of enhanced mental health services for children.