Senate Democrats launched a new caucus on Thursday aimed at curbing gun violence following a series of high-profile mass shootings, including one last month in California's Monterey Park that killed 11 people. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A group of Democratic senators have launched a caucus aimed at combating gun violence amid a surge in such crimes in the United States and following a series of several high-profile mass shootings.
"We wake up every day to headlines of another mass shooting in this country," Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said in a statement. "We can't allow this to continue."
The Gun Violence Prevention Caucus was launched Thursday with the mission to promote commonsense solutions to end the epidemic of U.S. gun violence, according to a press release.
To achieve its goal, the eight members plan to examine state-level gun laws that could be applied to the federal level as well as develop strategies for drafting gun safety legislation that preserves constitutional rights while avoiding frivolous lawsuits.
The caucus will also look at strategies to engage local communities in the fight against gun violence, pursue best practices for gun violence prevention advocacy and seek opportunities to engage with the administration and executive branch to address gun violence.
"Congress has a moral obligation to act now to combat the gun violence epidemic plaguing our schools, streets and communities," Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts said.
The caucus was launched as the death toll for the year to gun violence soars. According to The Gun Violence Archive, there have been 1,635 deaths and 2,844 injuries from guns this year as of Thursday.
The non-profit, no-advocacy organization has also tallied 52 mass shootings in that time frame.
Among those mass shootings include the 11 people killed and nine injured in a shooting Jan. 21 in California's Monterey Park, which was followed days later by a shooting on Jan. 23 in California's Half Moon Bay that resulted in seven people dead.
Along with Feinstein and Markey, the caucus' other members are Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Chris Murphy of Connecticut and John Hickenlooper.
"Our nation will never be able to end this epidemic without elected officials who have the courage to act and pass commonsense legislation," Adzi Vokhiwa, federal affairs director for gun control advocacy organization Giffords, said.
"That's why we are so excited and grateful for the new Gun Violence Prevention Caucus in the Senate, and we look forward to working with these dedicated gun safety champions to advance policy solutions that will enhance public safety and save lives."