In light of the mass shooting on Wednesday in San Bernardino, Calif., a congressman representing a nearby district — gay Democrat Mark Takano — harshly criticized Washington's foot-dragging on gun control.
"As policymakers, it is our responsibility to establish a system of laws that protects American lives. It is abundantly clear that we are not fulfilling that obligation," Takano said in a statement. "Easy access to firearms is the common denominator in the daily instances of gun violence terrorizing our schools, office buildings, and neighborhoods.
"These tragedies are not the cost of freedom, they are the cost of blocking basic steps to address our gun violence epidemic. We need more stringent background checks, we need to reinstate the federal ban on assault weapons, and — at the very least — we must lift the ban on gun violence research at the National Institutes of Health. I will work with local law enforcement, leaders in our community, and my colleagues in Congress to implement common sense solutions that do not impede on the rights of lawful gun owners.
"We have a long and sad tradition in this country of responding to gun violence with our condolences and little else. This time must be different."
Takano, the nation's first nonwhite LGBT person in Congress, was even more direct on Twitter.
I am heartbroken by the tragedy in San Bernardino. Gun violence cannot be considered the cost of freedom. It is the cost of inaction.
— Mark Takano (@RepMarkTakano) December 3, 2015
The California shooting took place at a facility that offered services to the developmentally disabled and left 14 dead and 21 injured. The married man and woman suspected in the assault, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, were killed in a gun battle with police.
Takano represents a district centered on Riverside County, which is adjacent to San Bernardino County.