Washington, DC – Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo called gun violence "one of our greatest public health epidemics” as he testified at a gun control hearing before Congress on Wednesday.
"I believe the legislation will save at least one life and if it's my child who dies, I want him to know and I want God to know that I was here today speaking on that life," Chief Acevedo told members of the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 6.
The chief, who is also president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, testified beside students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students and staff were gunned down in a senseless massacre on Feb. 14, 2018.
Chief Acevedo asked lawmakers to use common sense to balance Second Amendment protections, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The chief referred to what he called “almost regular mass shootings” in the United States and told the judiciary committee that it was time to strengthen universal background checks.
He also called on Congress to provide more funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and give the police “red flag” laws as a tool to remove guns from people that judges feel could present a danger to themselves or others, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“Doing nothing is not acceptable,” he said. “Our sons, our daughters, our children, our family members, our police officers are being shot, killed, and maimed and I would urge Congress to do something this term. It’s our time to make a difference because our streets, our neighborhoods are truly drowning in the blood of our victims and the tears of their loved ones.
Last year, Congress put more money into school safety and improved compliance with the federal background check system, but they did not consider any sweeping gun control legislation.
The gun control issue was raised again after four Houston police officers were shot during a narcotics warrant service on Jan. 28.
The suspects, 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle and his wife, 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas, were killed after shooting officers when they made entrance to the house.
None of the police officers were killed, although two were hit in the face, and one remains hospitalized in serious condition.