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Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Call for Bipartisan Federal Action on Background Checks after Mass Shooting in San Jose

May 26, 2021

Shannon Watts, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Volunteers, Gun Violence Survivors Available for Interviews

NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety, and Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement calling for bipartisan federal action on background checks after a mass shooting in downtown San Jose near a Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) maintenance yard. Law enforcement officials confirmed that there were multiple injuries and at least 8 fatalities, excluding the shooter; at least some of the victims were VTA employees.

“On the face of it, a train yard in San Jose has little in common with a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis or a nail salon in Atlanta, but over the course of just a few months, all of these workplaces have become places of horrific mass shootings,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We implore the Senate to meet this moment, and back up their thoughts and prayers with bipartisan action on background checks, as the Americans are so clearly demanding.”

“As an East Bay resident, my heart breaks for the San Jose community. While public mass shooting tragedies are sadly a reminder that America is returning to normal after the pandemic, daily gun violence has continued unabated,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “It is up to our lawmakers to address our nation’s gun violence epidemic. The Senate must act to strengthen our background check system, and state lawmakers should do the same. Now is not the time to weaken, repeal or rollback the gun safety laws that protect our communities from this violence.”

“Public mass shootings like these can’t be what we accept as normal,” said Jade O’Connor, a volunteer with California Students Demand Action. “We refuse to accept this ever-present toll that gun violence takes in our workplaces, on our streets, in our homes, in our schools, and wherever else we go – a toll which continued throughout the pandemic. We demand more from our lawmakers, and that starts with bipartisan federal action on background checks.”

“Our hearts are broken for everyone impacted by this devastating shooting,” said Rachel Michelson, a volunteer with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action in San Jose. “We shouldn’t have to live like this, with the threat of gun violence looming over all of us wherever we go and whatever we do. We’ll honor their lives with action to end gun violence.”

California has some of the strongest gun safety laws in the country but without federal action on background checks, guns will continue to flow into California from states with weaker gun laws. Read Everytown’s new report on gun trafficking here

Research by Everytown for Gun Safety shows that this is at least the 255th mass shooting since January 2009 in which four or more people were killed, not including the shooter, and the 15th mass shooting in 2021. Every day in the U.S. on average, more than 100 people are killed with guns, and more than 200 are wounded —most in shootings that are not mass shootings.

California lawmakers also have the opportunity to pass key pieces of gun safety legislation this session:

  • AB 988, legislation to create an alternative dispatch crisis hotline for mental health calls that do not require a direct line to law enforcement, will be voted on by the full Assembly soon
  • SB 2, legislation to increase accountability for law enforcement officers through the creation of a decertification process when misconduct has occurred, was passed by the California Senate today.
  • SB 299, legislation to ensure that victims of excessive use of force by law enforcement are able to utilize victim compensation, will be voted on by the full Senate soon.
  • State lawmakers will also vote on a revised budget, in which Governor Newsom requested more than $200 million in lifesaving funding for the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program (CalVIP).

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