WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — On Capitol Hill Thursday, two Democratic representatives pitched gun control policies that they hope will put an end to the violence in their communities.
Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., said that after a series of shootings and a town hall in his hometown of St. Louis, he must fight for gun control.
“Since May, at least 22 children under 16 years of age have been killed by guns in the St. Louis region, he testified before fellow lawmakers.
Also testifying was his colleague Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., who has proposed a bill that would make it a federal crime to help someone who shouldn’t have a gun get one.
“Gun violence is an epidemic,” Kelly, of Chicago, said. “We need a national solution.”
Clay has a bill would empower local governments to pass their own gun laws without state or federal interference. It would give states that allow local government to pass their own such laws federal grant funding to combat gun violence.
“They are tired of the state of Missouri restricting them,” he told Nexstar.
They say their plans are just two steps toward solving a much larger gun violence problem.
But some Republicans who heard their testimony say the bills won’t solve anything.
“Until we reckon with these basic truths and discuss solutions that will actually hold accountable the perpetrators of gun violence instead of restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners, we will continue to be mired in gridlock,” Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, said.
But Kelly and Clay say people are dying and Congress needs to act now. Clay said he’ll keep reaching out across the aisle to garner support.