For three years, Congress has failed the families of Newtown and victims of gun violence across the country.
While Congress, bitterly divided over partisan politics, has been stalled on this issue, the rest of America has continued to grieve. Countless families have felt the pain and heartache of losing a loved one to gun violence -- the same horrifying sting felt by those 26 families in Newtown on December 14, 2012.
I represent those families in Congress. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't witness their pain, or share their utter bewilderment in our failure to do something about it.
But we also remember the strength and resiliency of the Newtown community. We remember the teachers who protected those kids, who died shielding them with their bodies. We remember the first responders who rushed in to help. And we remember the millions of acts of kindness and gifts and phone calls that came in from the rest of the world.
This is the spirit behind President Obama's executive actions to reduce gun violence. He is doing what he can to prevent future gun violence because he knows that, as Americans, we cannot just close our eyes and blindly accept this as the status quo -- especially when it threatens the safety of our children.
Learn more about President Obama's commonsense proposals to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
Some of my colleagues in Congress have already raised their objections over these steps. Here's my message to them: Stop listening to the gun lobby. If they listened to gun owners instead, the vast majority of whom support sensible steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands, this debate would be over already.
We would have already acted. We would have passed universal background check legislation. We would have made straw purchasing and gun trafficking federal crimes to give law enforcement the tools to combat the flood of illegal weapons across state lines. We would have passed a ban on high-capacity magazines. We would have made it impossible for those on the FBI's terror watch list to purchase a deadly firearm. Instead, we've done nothing.
We should be listening to victims and families across the country who have been calling on us to act and do what we can to make the world safer for their children.
I'm proud to stand with President Obama on the actions he's taking to prevent gun violence. If you want to learn more, make sure to tune in to CNN tonight at 8:00pm ET, where President Obama will discuss the issue and take questions at a live town hall event.
But the President can only do so much -- it's up to Congress to do more. We must stand up to the gun lobby and do we what we can to prevent what happened in Newtown from ever happening again.
What greater responsibility do we have?