Gun violence has been heavy on the hearts of the majority of Americans for many years. It is an issue so comprehensively agreed upon to be in need of urgent reform that we cannot stop talking about it, and yet our representatives in Washington have failed to reach any course of action to even begin to address what the average American sees to be an urgent problem.

The only way we will be able to better understand the problem of gun violence is through updating legislation, and then studying the resulting outcomes. Political gridlock in Washington has precluded even research and data gathering efforts by the federal government, and we as a people are ready to move past this stalemate.

Even though California has some of the most progressive and restrictive gun laws in the country, the vast majority of Californians support increasing the strength of laws regarding the purchase of guns and ammunition. In line with this public sentiment, I support reintroducing shelved legislation such as H.R. 1475, the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act, and H.R. 1832 which would empower the Centers for Disease Control to collect relevant data on gun deaths and gun violence in our state and country.

Over 60% of gun deaths in America are suicides: A tragically overlooked part of this discussion. We cannot sit idly by and let our vulnerable friends, family, and neighbors take their own lives without discussing preventative possibilities. Our approach must be compassionate, common sense, and constitutional. We must be committed to understanding the problem first and only then to drafting constitutional gun reform legislation that addresses the issue as a public health concern. I will not and cannot turn a blind eye to firearm-related issues such as rampant suicide, mass shootings, and arms trafficking.