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‘Pervasive’ gun violence has ‘metastasized’ across country, Rep. Neguse says

After a mass shooting left 10 dead in his state, Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse told Judy Woodruff that gun violence is a "pervasive" problem, and has "metastasized" across the country. The Democrat also said that it's time for the country to "muster the political will" and enact gun laws to prevent future shootings. Monday's shooting was the second mass shooting in the U.S. in under a week.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And we get reaction to the shooting from U.S. Representative Joe Neguse of Colorado. He is a Democrat who represents Boulder, and he is there today.

    Congressman Neguse, thank you so much for joining us today. We're so sorry for your loss.

    Tell us about the neighborhood where this happened, and how is the community reacting?

  • Rep. Joe Neguse:

    Well, thank you, Judy.

    It has been a devastating 24 hours for our community here in Boulder, for our state, and really for our country. The loss of life here in Boulder is just — it's hard to fathom. It is unimaginable.

    And we are in mourning for the victims who tragically lost their lives yesterday at the King Soopers in South Boulder. And the 10 people who lost their lives are friends and brothers and sisters and neighbors and colleagues and treasured community members here in Boulder, every one of them.

    And we are just — our hearts and our prayers are with the families of those who lost their loved ones last night, including the family of Officer Talley, who heroically saved lives and died in the line of duty protecting our community.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Congressman, you said in your statement that you recall being a high school student in Colorado when the Columbine High School shooting took place 21 years ago.

    The shooter of this incident yesterday in Boulder was born that year, in 1999. What does that tell you about the cycle of violence in your state and around the country?

  • Joe Neguse:

    It tells me, Judy, that this crisis of gun violence is pervasive across our country, and it has metastasized year after year, decade after decade. And enough is enough.

    I — as you mentioned, I grew up in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. I was 14 when the tragedy of Columbine High School happened 10 minutes from my high school. And now, 21 years later, to stand here — 22 years later — and mourn the 10 victims who lost in Boulder last night, while Congress continues to dither on gun violence reform legislation, Coloradans and Americans are being murdered year after year, day after day.

    And I think the time for inaction is over. I think Americans are tired of excuses. I think they want us to deliver to protect our communities. I have a 2-year-old daughter, and I want her to grow up in a country where she doesn't have to be scared to go to the grocery store or to go to school or to go to a movie theater or be in her community.

    It doesn't have to be this way. We can change it. And I think we just have to muster the political will to do it.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And you say we have to muster the political will.

    And we heard President Biden say, the time for action is now. He is calling for common sense legislation to address assault weapons, to do something about high-capacity magazines.

    But is it realistic in this political climate that this kind of change can happen?

  • Joe Neguse:

    Judy, we have to try. We have to try.

    I appreciated the president's words today, in terms of both, again, extending his condolences and the condolences of the first lady to my constituents and to the community here in Boulder and to the families who grieve those we tragically lost last night. And I appreciated his — the clarity of his remarks with respect to gun violence reform legislation.

    As he said, these are common sense reforms. They're broadly supported by the American public. And we ought not forget that. And we shouldn't assume that our political institutions are impervious to the opinions of the public.

    So, I'm going to continue to push for these sensible reforms that he articulated. And I'm hopeful my colleagues will as well.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Congressman, what do you say to those who fiercely believe in gun rights, and who say, when these kinds of things happen, that it is about the person who did them, that this was a troubled young man, apparently, 21 years old, and that it's not the guns, but it's the people who are committing these acts?

  • Joe Neguse:

    I'd say we're learning more every hour about what happened yesterday and the tragic events that unfolded. Law enforcement, obviously, is in the very stages of their investigation.

    There is no question there will be multiple public policy solutions that I think local, state, and federal policy-makers will need to enact to address these types of senseless tragedies that are occurring in our community and communities across the country.

    But make no mistake. There is no question that gun violence and the availability of guns and weapons of war in our communities is creating an environment in which, as I said, numbers of our community are senselessly dying. And it does not have to be this way. We can change it.

    And I believe that, broadly speaking, the American people support the kind of reforms that President Biden articulated earlier today, universal background checks perhaps being a great example, a bill that we passed just two weeks ago in the United States House of Representatives with bipartisan, Republican and Democrat, support.

    So, I'm hopeful we can build on that and we can get something done. But most of all, Judy, I would tell you that I'm spending my time trying to help our community heal. It is going to be a difficult, difficult set of days, weeks, and months ahead for the families who lost loved ones and for our entire community.

    And we are certainly going to be there in this for the community as we heal together.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But you do believe the climate, the political climate, is there in Congress to get a change, serious change, in gun control policy?

  • Joe Neguse:

    I do. I do, Judy.

    We can't afford not to act. We simply can't afford not to act. We have lost too many lives already.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Congressman Joe Neguse of Colorado, whose community deeply struck by this terrible shooting last night.

    Thank you, Congressman.

  • Joe Neguse:

    Thank you, Judy.

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