Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee: 'I Believe We Need a National Emergency Declaration for the Extensive Gun Use'

By Susan Jones | June 21, 2021 | 11:47am EDT
 (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

( - "There clearly is a gun and violent (sic) crisis in America," Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) told CNN on Saturday.

She blamed guns for the problem, never mentioning the "defund the police" movement, which has thinned the ranks of law enforcement and restricted officers' ability to police.

Meanwhile, crime is escalating across the country.

"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 asked.

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. I'm standing here in Texas, on Juneteenth.

We are obviously a state that has been utilizing guns for a long time. 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.

So, I think we have to raise this to a level of emergency declaration of violence. 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.

‘Intervention sites on every block’

But we also need to begin to stop the spread of laws like permit-less guns, ghost guns," Jackson Lee continued:

We need to be able to ban assault weapons, frankly, to be able to deal with these guns that are on the street. But we also need to have the community intervention that we were not able to have during the pandemic.

We need to begin to deal with young men to have, if you will, intervention sites on every block. What happened to those two young men or three that caused them to have a wild west shoot out on the streets of New York? Or to have children that could have been literally murdered before our eyes? There has to be a sense of humanity, we have to be - we have to own this.

Those who are protected are in better neighborhoods and say it's not my problem. It is our problem. Gun violence has gone up in some cities 30 some percent in terms of homicide and crime.

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.

And we must give the police department more information. I want the community to know you have to ‘see something, say something.’ But we need to give the police department more intervention resources, they come up on these young people all the time, they know what to do.

We need to find somewhere else for these people to be than on the streets with a gun. And we need to use every aspect -- social workers, police officers, medical professionals, faith leaders, community leaders, and we need to use our history.

If you're studying your history, you're not going to be picking up a gun. If you know who you are, you're not going to pick up a gun. But as the chair of the committee, I can tell you, we are deeply seeking solutions. And we will have probably a hearing or briefing on violence, and then seek to see how we can pass real gun safety legislation? We must do that to stop the violence.

The rising crime rate, including shootings and stabbings in broad daylight in crowded parts of the city, is one of the main campaign issues in tomorrow's Democrat mayoral primary in New York City.

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