While she supported many of President Barack Obama’s proposals in his State of the Union, Rep. Lois Capps said she was disappointed that he failed to urge Congress to pass gun safety laws.
Capps said that, while the president made a “very quick” reference to the issue, “I wish he had spent more time on it.”
After the speech, however, Capps said she was able to give Obama a photo of Christopher Michaels Martinez, the UCSB student from Los Osos who was one of six people killed during a murder spree in Isla Vista last May. Capps’ guest on Tuesday was Richard Martinez, Christopher’s father, who has tirelessly lobbied state and federal lawmakers to pass gun laws since his son’s death.
“Mr. Martinez has been working so hard on this topic and I’m so happy he could be here,” said Capps, D-Santa Barbara. Martinez was unavailable for an interview Tuesday night.
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Earlier in the day, Capps had reintroduced her bill, The Pause for Safety Act, which would provide grants to states that allow families to get a court order to temporarily stop someone who poses a threat to himself or others from buying a firearm; allows police to temporarily seize firearms from a person under such a court order; and ensures that police use existing gun databases when following up on a tip.
The bill was in response to the Isla Vista massacre, since police were unaware the killer had guns when they went to his home a month before the killings after getting a call from his concerned family.
Capps and Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced identical bills in the House and Senate in June, but neither was acted on during that session. Capps said she hopes Boxer will reintroduce the Senate bill.
Frustrated with Congress’ previous failure to act, Capps said she will work with the House Democratic Caucus’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force to push the bill forward.
As for the president’s speech, Capps said she particularly supported his calls for free community college education, paid sick and maternity leave, affordable childcare, and immigration reform, framing them as economic issues.
“Comprehensive immigration reform is something we really need to do,” she said. “That’s so vital to our families and to our economy.”