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When will Congress talk about gun violence? Butterfield wants to know.

Congressman G. K. Butterfield wants answers about gun violence.

Butterfield, D-Durham, was joined Wednesday by fellow Democrats on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee as they sent a letter to committee chairman Greg Walden, R-Oregon, urging hearings to be held about gun violence in America.

“In eastern North Carolina and across the country, we’ve seen too many lives lost due to gun violence,” Butterfield said in a press release. “We can no longer ignore the problem and go about our lives after another one of these tragedies as if it’s business as usual. Congress must finally act.”

Two of the four homicides in 2018 so far in Durham were from shootings. There were 24 criminal homicides out of a total of 28 killings in the city in 2017 and one in Durham County. All but two of those 29 incidents involved guns.

Butterfield wants the committee to explore who gun violence hurts, whether mass shootings are becoming increasingly deadly, what is the distribution of guns, ammunition, and accessories sold through e-commerce, and whether federal agencies have the resources necessary to exercise effective oversight of such activity. He also wants to understand the extent to which social media may play in increasing the hostility surrounding the gun debate.

“The American people rightfully have questions about the ever-increasing capacity of guns to kill or seriously harm in large numbers and why these weapons are so easy to obtain in the marketplace,” the letter said. “There are also legitimate questions this Committee must take up, including the ease of purchasing ammunition and gun accessories online and whether social media is contributing to the societal divisions on the topic of gun violence.”

Previously, Butterfield called on the committee to hold a hearing on gun violence prevention research. Butterfield wants to help states strengthen and expand the background checks system and close a number of gun sale loopholes. He also wants to the Centers for Disease Control and other agencies to study gun violence research.

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