(USA Features) Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas believes the Biden administration should declare a health emergency over gun violence so the White House can use its authorities to ban certain weapons.
“First of all, what I would say is, there clearly is a gun and violent crisis in America. Can you believe that Republicans blocked us for a number of times to have that declared as a health crisis by the Centers for Disease Control?” Jackson Lee told CNN on Saturday.
“But really what we need now is an emergency declaration — I believe we need a national emergency declaration for the extensive gun use, and this has nothing to do with the Second Amendment,” she continued.
“I’m standing here in Texas, on Juneteenth. We are obviously a state that has been utilizing guns for a long time,” the Texas Democrat went on.
“In fact, we have a permit-less gun law that is obviously making our situation worse. But as the chair of the subcommittee that deals with this crime and terrorism and homeland security, we had a gun hearing, we have gun experts that will tell you that gun laws will make a difference,” she claimed.
“So, I think we have to raise this to a level of emergency declaration of violence,” Jackson Lee noted further.
“With the use of guns, we have to begin to now find a way to push through some forms of gun safety legislation, universal background checks, and closing the Charleston loophole.”
The Justice Department has previously concluded that a previous 10-year ban on “assault weapons” enacted during the Clinton administration did not reduce gun crimes.
Also, the FBI’s crime statistics have long shown that suspects using handguns, not military-like rifles, are responsible for the vast majority of murders.
“Gun violence has gone up in some cities 30 some percent in terms of homicide and crime,” Jackson Lee continued.
“So, my view is that we have to go back to the United States Congress, we have to work with the administration that has been faithful in their support of gun safety legislation, see how we can declare in a declaration of emergency, see what governmental resources and private sector resources, but we must have intervention,” she said.
Republicans and criminologists have said the spike in crimes beginning last year, including gun crime, is mostly due to progressive criminal justice reform that has eliminated cash bail and involved far fewer prosecutions of illegal activities.
Police agencies have made similar observations, including the NYPD.
“Criminal justice reforms serve as a significant reason New York City has seen this uptick in crime,” the NYPD said in a March 2020 press release.
“Each number presents a victim,” added Police Commissioner Dermot Shea in a statement.
“We will continue to work hand-in-hand with New Yorkers and our law enforcement partners to zero in on the drivers of crime and deliver justice for the victims,” Shea continued.