“The number one thing we can do to reduce the number of gun deaths in our country is to elect leaders who refuse to take money from gun lobbies.” -Lorie Burch
NO DONATIONS FROM LOBBYISTS OR CORPORATIONS
While our elected leaders are accepting huge campaign contributions from groups like the NRA, we know that they aren’t going to be taking meaningful action to prevent gun deaths in our country. The number one thing we can do to make sure our Congress is working for us is to elect leaders who are committed to campaign finance reform, because the lives of our family, friends, and children should be the biggest concerns for our legislators.
STRENGTHEN AND ENFORCE CURRENT GUN SAFETY LEGISLATION
I support the Second Amendment right of lawful gun owners to protect their homes and families. Unfortunately, far too many guns are ending up in the hands of those intent on causing devastating harm to our communities. Congress needs to work with state and local leaders to strengthen current common-sense gun safety measures, and make sure that these laws are being consistently enforced. This includes working to close loopholes in the current laws. For example, closing the “boyfriend loophole” which will help prevent more domestic abusers from owning a weapon, the “default proceed loophole” that allows dealers to sell firearms if a background check is not completed within 3 days, and the “gun show loophole” which allows unregistered dealers to sell guns without completing a background check.
Critically, we need to improve the ways in which federal and local law enforcement agencies are conducting investigations and sharing information pertaining to criminal and mental health records, background checks, and any potential threats reported by citizens.
While the right to bear arms is enshrined in our constitution, the prevalence of gun violence in America today demands that we thoughtfully consider ways to make our society safer. In the words of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in the 2007 case of The District of Columbia v. Heller, “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR GUN VIOLENCE RESEARCH
There are many ideas and proposals put forward every time the country comes face to face with the issue of gun violence, but the conversation can’t stop a few days after every tragedy. I believe one of the most reasonable ways to keep the issue at the forefront is to fund the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and other groups in order to discover potential ways to prevent as many deaths as possible. Currently, the CDC is unable to effectively conduct research on how gun deaths may be prevented due to decades-old legislation. Gun deaths are a serious public health issue in our country that needs to be addressed, and granting the CDC the freedom and resources to do so should be a priority for Congress. New research and insights can also go a long way in helping us better understand the relationship between mental health and gun deaths – something desperately needed when roughly two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States are a result of suicide.
CONSIDERING PAST & CURRENT POLICY
In 1994, Congress passed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which prohibited the manufacturing and sale of certain semi-automatic firearms and high-capacity magazines for civilian use. This ban expired in 2004, but I believe Congress should debate similar measures going forward to prevent more gun deaths by stemming the sale of military-style weapons and modifications such as bump stocks to civilians.
Additionally, the currently proposed legislation to allow for concealed carry reciprocity across state lines should be rejected by Congress. Although there are many things that our federal government can and should do to prevent gun violence, we should not ignore the right of the states to enact the gun safety measures they deem appropriate, which this controversial legislation would do.
Beyond smarter gun and background check legislation, the federal government must also work together with communities across America and take a role, where appropriate, in supporting them as they develop their own approaches to improving school safety, ensuring that our children have the opportunity to learn in peace that they deserve. I look forward to an honest and productive conversation here in our community where we can share ideas and come together to make meaningful progress towards making life safer for everyone.