Category Archives: Rep. Mike Thompson

Not what I expected: Mike Thompson on gun violence

By Roger Straw
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson – Gun Violence Prevention Task Force  mikethompson.house.gov/issues/gun-violence-prevention

An influential Benicia resident (who wishes to remain anonymous) wrote to me on May 22, highly concerned over our Rep. Mike Thompson’s moderate statements on the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force page on his website.  Her email subject line was “Not what I expected: Mike Thompson on gun violence.”  She wrote:

Rep. Mike Thompson, District 5, has been chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force in the US House of Representative for several years. Here is his disturbing current statement on the Task Force site: note: there are links on the site about his gun prevention plans.  From his website…

“As a hunter and gun owner I believe we should protect a law-abiding individual’s Second Amendment right to own firearms. As a dad and grandfather I also believe that we have a responsibility to make our schools, streets and communities safe. We can do both, but Congress will need to step up.

After being named chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force in the U.S. House of Representatives, I held a series of open town halls in our district that examined some of the actions that Congress could take. Hundreds attended these meetings. I heard views from law enforcement officials, mental health experts, school officials, NRA members and gun control advocates. Many feared that their Second Amendment rights would come under attack when my task force made its recommendations to Congress. Others wanted to cast those rights aside.

I believe both views are too extreme. I will never give up my guns and I will never ask law-abiding Americans without a history of dangerous mental illness to give up theirs. Not only am I personally against this, the Constitution does not allow it. In District of Columbia v. Heller the Supreme Court affirmed once and for all that Americans have a right to keep and bear arms.

However, just as the First Amendment protects free speech but doesn’t allow you to incite violence, the Second Amendment has restrictions too. As conservative justice Anthony Scalia outlined, Heller does not prohibit laws forbidding firearms in places such as schools, nor does it restrict laws prohibiting felons and the mentally ill from carrying guns.

This ruling provides people on both sides of the issue with an opportunity to work within the confines of the Second Amendment and pass legislation that will reduce and prevent gun violence.”

I wrote back, detailing Mike’s stated views on assault weapons: “After the Parkland FL school shooting in February … Mike held a Benicia town Hall on March 17, where he very clearly, more than once, stated that ‘military grade automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons do not belong in the hands of citizens.'” (See Mike Thompson makes news in Benicia: ‘military grade assault weapons do not belong in citizens’ hands’.)

I wrote to Thompson’s staff, sharing our concern about the Gun Violence Prevention page on his website, and suggesting they update the page to show Mike’s evolving views on this subject.  “I hope you will pass this on to Mike and make an effort to update the website, calling for new and more stringent controls on guns, with special attention to military grade automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons.”

I heard back that same day with a promise to pass our concern on to Mike’s communications director in Washington D.C., Alex Macfarlane.

As of today, there have been no updates on Mike’s Gun Violence Prevention page.  Similarly, I can find no mention of assault weapons or automatic / semi-automatic weapons on Thompson’s Facebook page.  I hope to hear from his office about changes, and will report here with updates.

Contact Rep. Mike Thompson – ask him what is his position on banning military grade automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons:

Roger Straw
Benicia

    Mike Thompson makes news in Benicia: “military grade assault weapons do not belong in citizens’ hands”

    March 17, 2018
    Congressional Representative holds Town Hall in Benicia CA on March 17
    US Representative Mike Thompson, California’s Fifth District

    I became a Mike Thompson fan at his Benicia Town Hall on March 17.

    Our Representative demonstrated a thorough grasp of shocking gun violence statistics.  He is strongly opposed to arming teachers and supports CDC research into gun violence.  He is an expert on legislative procedural matters regarding gun control, and chairs a House Task Force on Gun Violence.  He is sponsoring a number of bills (of note, H.R. 1565) and supporting others, and was very much aware of the accelerating national opposition to NRA influence.

    Although Rep. Thompson focuses primarily on practical, achievable legislative goals like strengthening background checks, he spoke plainly about assault weapons at the town hall in Benicia, California.  More than once, Thompson boldly asserted that military grade automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons “do not belong in the hands of citizens.”

    What can this mean other than an assault weapons ban?  Some day.  When asked if he supports Senator Feinstein’s 2017 bill to ban assault weapons, Rep. Thompson nodded affirmatively, and said he agreed, and repeated that “assault weapons do not belong in citizen hands.”

    Two current House bills proposing a ban on assault weapons are not yet supported by Thompson: H.R.5087 and H.R.4268.  And as of this writing, Thompson’s view opposing assault weapons does not yet appear on his website, nor in any press release I can find.  It seems the Congressman was unveiling a new and stronger position here in Benicia last Saturday.

    Recent Thompson press releases:

      U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson – Benicia Q&A on Gun Violence

      Repost from email…  RSVP to http://bit.ly/2DuEtHx
      [Editor: I became a Mike Thompson fan at this event.  Although Rep. Thompson focuses primarily on practical, achievable legislative goals like strengthening background checks, he spoke plainly, boldly asserting that military grade automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons “do not belong in the hands of citizens.”  (This view opposing assault weapons does not appear on Thompson’s website, nor in any press release I can find.  Was Mike unveiling a new position here in Benicia last Saturday?)  Thompson demonstrated a thorough grasp of the statistics and legislative procedural matters.  He is sponsoring a number of bills and supporting others, and was very much aware and supportive of the accelerating national opposition to NRA influence.  – RS]