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Rep. Mike Thompson’s gun violence panel backs assault-weapons ban

By GUY KOVNER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, on Thursday released a set of 15 policy recommendations on preventing gun violence, including a federal ban on assault weapons and background checks for most gun buyers, as well as proposals regarding mental health, school safety and media portrayals of violence.

Rep. Mike Thompson spoke during a public forum he held at the Board of Supervisors chambers on preventing gun violence, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. (Crista Jeremiason / PD)

Rep. Mike Thompson spoke during a public forum he held at the Board of Supervisors chambers on preventing gun violence, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. (Crista Jeremiason / PD)

Thompson, whose district includes Santa Rosa and southeast Sonoma County, said in a telephone interview that the proposals will be a “blueprint” for legislation by House Democrats and there is “an excellent chance” that many of them will become law.

Thompson, a hunter, gun owner and Vietnam combat veteran, was appointed chairman of the Democrats’ Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force in the wake of the Dec. 14 massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.

His hearing on gun-violence prevention last month in Santa Rosa drew an overflow crowd to the Sonoma County supervisors chambers.

Several of the Democratic task force’s recommendations, including the assault weapons ban and broader background checks, mirrored President Barack Obama’s proposals last month, opposed by the National Rifle Association.

The 12-member task force’s recommendations include:

Reinstating a federal ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004 and banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Requiring background checks for most gun buyers, closing a loophole the task force said enables felons, domestic abusers and mentally ill people to acquire firearms.

A crackdown on illegal gun trafficking and straw-purchasing, the practice of buying a gun and giving it to a convicted felon or other prohibited buyer.

Funding federal research on the causes of gun violence and supporting local programs to take unwanted guns off the streets.

Improving prevention, early intervention and treatment of mental illness and addressing the shortage of mental health professionals.

Helping schools implement safety programs.

Addressing the cultural “glorification of violence” in movies, television, music and video games.

Thompson emphasized that Second Amendment rights to gun ownership will not be trampled, but also are “not unlimited.”

Family traditions of hunting and recreational shooting should be respected by Congress, the task force proposals said.

Thompson said in the interview that he wants congressional Republicans to “know we’re working to protect Second Amendment rights and keep their communities safe.”

In the seven weeks since the fatal shooting of 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, more than 1,480 Americans have been killed by gunfire, an average of 30 a day, the task force report said.

Each year, an average of nearly 12,000 people are slain by firearms and 19,000 commit suicide using a gun.

Thompson said he has spoken with Sonoma County authorities about the fatal shooting of three men near Forestville this week and was aware of the 13-year-old Annapolis girl who died after shooting herself in the head with a .22-caliber revolver.

“We’ve got to do so much more in the area of intervention and mental health,” he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com.





13 Responses to “Rep. Mike Thompson’s gun violence panel backs assault-weapons ban”

  1. Skippy says:

    Easy answer: restrict political speech to soapboxes and flyers, spoken by land-owning white men, just as the Founding Fathers clearly intended.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  2. David Wells says:

    Ignorance is curable snarky. Really it is.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  3. bear says:

    Easy answer: restrict guns to single-shot muskets and pistols, held by the Guard and Reserve, as the founding fathers clearly intended.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  4. Ray M. says:

    Thompson will back whatever his highness, Barry Obama, tells him.

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 8

  5. Steveguy says:

    I have seen that Mike Thompson is a member of the NRA, and Mike Thompson has also accepted ‘hunting trips’ sponsored by the gun lobby.. Fact, look it up.

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  6. Tim Clary says:

    Rep. Thompson-what about ammunition? Don’t you think limiting or taxing bullets would cut down on gun violence?

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 22

  7. Kirstin says:

    Mr. Thompson needs to review his oath to uphold the Constitution of these United States. He also needs to review what the people told him at the public meeting he called because the outcome of his committee is pretty much diametrically opposed to what the vast majority of his own constituents said! Is he more committed to the elite authoritarian agenda than to the people he is supposed to represent in Congress?

    Also, I still await a reply from him about why the U.S. government is spending money it doesn’t have in order to buy over 1.6 BILLION bullets for domestic use! This nakedly aggressive action by the feds not only merits congressional investigation but it must be STOPPED at once. So, let’s have an adequate answer from you, Mr. Thompson.

    Thumb up 26 Thumb down 4

  8. Bonnie S. Arthur says:

    Thanks, Mike, for being a great representative.

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 36

  9. Originalst says:

    Our founders recognized that when a govt. is not responsive to the public, the public have not only the right but the duty to replace it. This is exactly what they did during our revolution! They used arms that the colonists had themselves.
    The founders provided the right of citizens to own arms for many reasons: Hunting, protection, and to replace governments! That right is not to be infringed upon. Licenses, registration etc etc is infringing on that right! No where does our Constitution provide for “reasonable” restrictions as the govt calls them.

    Thumb up 33 Thumb down 7

  10. Michael Peterson says:

    At the Santa Rosa Gathering you held, the people were at least 6 to 1 against what you are proposing. Did you listen at all?

    Thumb up 35 Thumb down 7

  11. Snarky says:

    James Bennett:

    Your inner fears are fearsome!

    Flouride in the public drinking water is and has been a proven and documented benefit to generations of lucky children. Thats why the American Dental Association supports fluoride.

    Vaccinations, too, have been a huge benefit to generations of Americans and humans around the world. Even people who do not get vaccinated are protected somewhat by the stopping power of a vaccinated population as microbes cannot pass from victim to victim easily when most humans are immune.

    As far as government overreach that we all see, all we have to do is to witness the shooting and wounding of three different innocent bystanders by southern California police yesterday in their overzealous and dangerous behaviors related to their “manhunt” of a suspect. Three innocent victims of police excess are now going to suffer from gunshot wound damage for life. And we all know that the police who fired those shots will be protected by a corrupt out of control government.

    Google that story, James. Bullets from overzealous and dangerous cops are far more hazardous to your health than flouride or vaccinations !!

    Thumb up 7 Thumb down 23

  12. Nora Gonzales says:

    Progressives, and that is a kind word for what Thompson really is, want our cars, guns and money.

    They want to force us into using public transportation, confiscate our guns we use to protect ourselves and take our money through progressively increasing taxes.

    Why, that’s easy. The democrats, progressives or whatever you want to call them, want to control our lives, where we live, how we live and what we can do or not do to protect ourselves. They believe they know best and they are more than willing to force us into their chains.

    Thumb up 39 Thumb down 10

  13. James Bennett says:

    Simon says:
    molest their property rights.
    Simon says:
    vaccinate the children with proven toxins.
    Simon says:
    Blow up dams that produce clean energy
    (and flood generations of ag lives).
    Simon says:
    Put fluoride poison in the water.
    Simon says:
    Screw small business.
    Simon says:
    Disarm citizens and molest their Civil Rights.
    Simon says adhere to your oath-GOTCHA-YOU’RE OUT!

    Thumb up 42 Thumb down 10

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