Bipartisan group formed in House to address wave of violence

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Story highlights

  • Democrats have pushed to pass gun measures as an answer to more high-profile shootings
  • Democrats continue to press House GOP leaders for votes on a series of gun control measures

Washington (CNN)After a string of deadly shootings in Minnesota, Louisiana and Texas began a national dialogue about how to address violence in communities across the country, House members Wednesday unveiled a bipartisan working group to explore how to respond.

"There are great success stories and solutions that are out there already. We need to bring them to Congress, to Washington, to other communities, to learn from this and to replicate is to that we can find solutions," House Speaker Paul Ryan said at a CNN town hall Tuesday night.
    "Let's start talking about solutions, and I think we just need to calm down and start our healing process," he said.
    House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and the committee's top Democrat, Michigan Rep. John Conyers, released a joint statement Wednesday indicating they would lead the effort, which is focused on "policing strategies."
    "It's clear that more must be done to end excessive use of force, strengthen police accountability, prevent violent attacks on law enforcement and improve the relationship between police officers and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve," Goodlatte and Conyers said.
    Democrats have pushed to pass gun measures as an answer to more high-profile shootings, especially after the attack in an Orlando nightclub that killed 49 people. But Ryan's effort to pass a homeland security measure that included a provision to bar gun sales to those on the terror watch list earlier this month hit a snag when conservatives complained the proposal violated Second Amendment rights. Democrats continue to press House GOP leaders for votes on a series of gun control measures, but Congress is expected to leave town for an extended summer recess without voting on any legislation on the issue.
    Members of the new working group include members from communities impacted by recent shootings: Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-Louisiana, and Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Illinois, who represents part of Chicago.
    Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, a former prosecutor; Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Washington, a former sheriff; and Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, a Baptist pastor, are also part of the group. Other members include Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Indiana, Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-New York, and Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota.
    The group will hold a private roundtable in Washington this Thursday, and Goodlatte and Conyers indicated they were planning additional events.