02 CapitolThis week, Bill Bowman yields his space to Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., to share his thoughts on mass shootings in America and what Congress is doing to pass meaningful legislation to deal with gun violence.

“Mom, it’s happening again.” Those were the words of a 13-year-old girl in El Paso, Texas, on Aug. 3. Then, it happened again. This time in Dayton, Ohio. And just four months ago, it happened here at UNC-Charlotte. It seems — yet again — that no community is immune to gun violence and the evils of a deranged person.

Like you, I was sickened by the innocent lives lost and the horrific violence. As a father and a husband, I can’t help but put myself in the shoes of the victims and their families. Two more communities mourning. Countless families grappling with grief and burying loved ones. And one country — yet again — searching our souls for answers and wondering why this sort of sickness is overtaking our communities.

I refuse to accept this as our new American reality. We must recommit ourselves to ending this kind of violence.

All Americans are affected by these shootings, and we all want to do something. It should be harder for people who shouldn’t have guns to have guns. Congress needs to work together to address this problem and not just “do something,” but do something in a bipartisan way that will actually make a difference.

I have cosponsored legislation that has been signed into law that puts more resources in mental health, provides training for guidance counselors, funds grants for law enforcement, provides money to harden schools and strengthens background checks. I also introduced legislation that passed the House last Congress to strengthen background checks, address bump stocks and deal with the patchwork of concealed carry laws.

In addition, the House recently passed a spending bill with my amendment to double the money available for research to study the root causes of gun violence, including the impact and effectiveness of grants authorized under the STOP School Violence Act. I support legislation in the current Congress to strengthen background checks and to improve communication between state, local and federal law enforcement so potential shooters don’t keep falling through the cracks.

At the end of the day, it is not our government alone that is going to solve this problem. Racism and hatred have no place in our country. It’s up to all of us to get serious about addressing the root causes of this violence: the breakdown of the family, culture, media, mental health and many more. As President Donald Trump said last week, one thing we must recognize is the internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds. I applaud the president for directing the Department of Justice to work in partnership with local and state agencies, as well as social media companies, to develop tools to detect mass shooters before they strike. It’s time to tone down the rhetoric and work on bipartisan, common sense solutions.

At the end of the day, it is not our government alone that is going to solve the gun violence problem. 

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