Newsletter: Responding to the Tragedy in Isla Vista


Date: June 19, 2014

Dear Friend,

The last few weeks have been challenging for Isla Vista and our entire community as we have come together to heal from the violence that left six victims dead in Isla Vista on May 23.

In the wake of this tragedy I attended vigils and memorials, met with the father of one of the victims, and discussed the issue with Sheriff Bill Brown. I had coffee with students and community members in Isla Vista, and I hosted a roundtable of mental health professionals in Santa Barbara.

Through it all, I heard two things: frustration and a demand for action. I agree. When I returned to Washington I led a moment of silence on the House floor. And the next morning, I urged my colleagues to act.

Last week, my colleagues came together in a bipartisan fashion to pass a resolution memorializing the victims of the tragedy and condemning the violence. While a small step, I hope that the passage of this resolution and its formal inclusion in the Congressional Record, sends a message to the victims, their families, and the community of Isla Vista that they are not forgotten.

But remembering those lost is not enough. That is why last week I voted in favor of increased funding for our background checks system. And I signed on as an original co-sponsor of the Promoting Healthier Minds for Safer Communities Act, which will address mental health issues and its relation to gun violence.

Moreover, in looking at this tragedy, it is clear that there are gaps in our violence prevention efforts. That is why I worked with my Senate colleagues Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein to author the Pause for Safety Act, a bill that will encourage states to empower families and others with new tools to prevent a tragedy if someone they are close to poses a threat to themselves or others.

But there is more to do. Admittedly, the political environment in DC has made it difficult to get things done, but I know, if nothing is done, nothing will change. We must not allow this tragedy to be yet another followed by silence and inaction. Please know that I will continue to look for common sense solutions to these issues.

Thank you for taking the time to share your views.


Member of Congress