Congressman Bruce Braley says he wants to make sure last Friday’s shootings at a Connecticut elementary school don’t become “yet another footnote” in the history of gun violence in the United States.
“We can’t guarantee that mass shootings will never happen again in our country, but we need to try,” Braley says.
Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, will hold a public meeting in Iowa to discuss find ways to address the problem “from all angles” — and he will welcome representatives of the National Rifle Association to the conversation.
“This isn’t one person’s problem, one party’s problem, one elected official’s problem,” Braley says. “It is our problem and the sooner we realize that and start coming together to have a meaningful and serious conversation about why these shooting events continue to happen at our public places, then we are deluding ourselves that we are ever going to reduce incidents of gun violence in this country.”
Braley says policymakers need to figure out how to improve mental health care services and consider what Braley calls “reasoned” gun regulations. Braley has already signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation that would ban the sale of high-capacity gun ammunition clips.
“We are seeing, already, indications that Republicans and Democrats who have received substantial financial support from the NRA are speaking out about the need to have some sensible regulation — consistent with the Second Amendment — that addresses the problems that we face,” Braley says.
According to Braley, the response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary can’t just come from politicians, however.
“We are all mandatory reporters when we become aware of people with violent tendencies or serious mental illnesses,” Braley says.
Governor Terry Branstad has asked Iowans to observe a moment of silence at 9:30 Friday morning in remembrance of the 26 victims who were shot to death a week ago in Connecticut.