Gun violence the impromptu topic at East Bay congressman's town hall

East Bay Congressman Mark DeSaulnier is among those calling on the U.S. Senate to reconvene and act on pending gun bills. 

"No one should die, no one else should die," DeSaulnier told reporters before hosting a town hall meeting in Richmond Monday evening. 

"It's madness to let this go on when we know we can implement policy- that won't stop them completely- but will stop many mass shootings."

DeSaulnier has held almost 80 town halls during his 4 years representing the East Bay in Congress. 
Monday's session was scheduled well before the weekend violence in El Paso and Dayton, and was pegged to the topic of immigration. 

But given the carnage, the issue of gun reform also helped fill the auditorium at St. Mark's Catholic Church on Harbour Way. 

DeSaulnier notes 8 in 10 Americans support expanded background checks, already passed by the House, but snubbed by the GOP - controlled Senate.     

"Moscow Mitch McConnell doesn't want to have a hearing because he knows the public will put pressure on those Senators to say- pass this!" he said. 

DeSaulnier insists sensible gun reforms are not incompatible with the Second Amendment, and should be guided by evidence-backed research that analyzes mass shootings as a public health issue.

"Why does anybody need an assault weapon, you don't use it for hunting," he said, advocating for House members to return and vote on a federal assault weapons ban. 

"We've got too many guns and too much divisiveness," said DeSaulnier. 

The Democrat from Walnut Creek also criticizes President Trump for rhetoric he believes contributes to violence. 

"When the president says we're being invaded by rapists and murderers that's not the truth," said DeSaulnier, "but it's more important to him to get re-elected than the consequences for the country or innocent people whose lives are lost."

Some constituents who attended the town hall expressed doubt anything will change, since it hasn't after previous massacres. 

"I think they're horrible and I'm afraid they're not going to end," Cheryl Collier of Richmond told KTVU.

"I don't know what the answer is but I can sadly share with you that I lost my own daughter to gun violence,  so I don't know," said COllier somberly. 

DeSaulnier paused the meeting for a long moment of silence.

"Let's reflect on what's happened in this country in the last week," he said. 

A "tipping point" in gun reform, he admits, has proven elusive.

"Maybe there isn't one tipping point, but it's accumulating, it's frustrating for all of us, but it's got to stop." 

DeSaulnier has authored a bill directing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to study gun violence and prevention. 

He has another town hall scheduled for Thursday night in Danville, and has moved it to a larger venue, anticipating strong turnout. 

It will be held at Charlotte Wood Middle School, 600 El Capitan Dr., from 6:30 to 8 pm. 

The meeting will have no specific topic.