Back in February, gun violence looked to be on top of the national agenda as communities across the nation were reeling from massacres and constant shootings. Back then, Rep. Joe Heck (R-Henderson) held a town hall in Old Henderson and fielded many questions on gun safety. He refused to consider measures that most Nevadans support, like a new ban on military grade assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
However even in declaring this, Rep. Heck left the door open to other policy solutions. Specifically, he endorsed expansion of background checks for gun purchases. And at least for that moment, it appeared as if Congress could actually accomplish something.
Of course, we remember what happened in April. Yet despite this, HR 1565 remains. It does exactly what Rep. Heck promised to support (expanding background checks for gun purchases). It was introduced by a fellow Republican (Peter King [R-New York]). And it now has 184 co-sponsors, including both of the other Southern Nevada Representatives (Dina Titus [D-Paradise] and Steven Horsford [D-North Las Vegas]).
So why hasn't Rep. Heck taken action yet? That's what local OFA volunteers were asking. They also called fellow Nevadans and asked them to call Rep. Heck about HR 1565 and gun safety.
Even though we haven't seen a major massacre making national headlines recently, that doesn't mean gun violence is no longer a serious problem. Ask Jill Schaller and the Reno Police Department about that. And for that matter, ask the many communities around the state and across the nation about the daily gun violence tragedies they witness.
Congress has the ability to do something. Rep. Joe Heck has the ability to do something. And his House Republican colleagues have the ability to do something.
They can start by passing HR 1565. The least they can do is expand background checks to prevent dangerous criminals from getting their hands on dangerous weapons. Can't they at least do that?