As a hunter and past gun owner, I respect that the Second Amendment guarantees the rights of law-abiding and responsible gun owners. In fact, I was previously a member of the NRA and earned a marksmanship award from the organization -- back when it was actually focused on training and gun safety.
Since that time, gun violence in America has become a massive epidemic. The American people overwhelmingly support common-sense gun laws and gun safety reform, yet my opponent has earned an “A" Rating from the NRA by voting against multiple gun safety bills and putting the interests of gun manufacturers ahead of the safety of the American public.
The time is now to protect children in their schools, congregations at their places of worship, moviegoers at the theater and every single American from preventable gun violence.
Below is my five-point plan to reduce mass shootings in America and help prevent gun violence.
1. UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS
Over 90% of the American public support mandatory and universal background checks to ensure that criminals, domestic abusers, or those with mental disturbances are not able to purchase a firearm. It’s time that Congress enact a law requiring a background check for every single purchase or transfer of ownership of firearms in the country.
We must also pass the the Fix NICS Act and mandate that states and law enforcement agencies update the NICS database, which all gun purchase background checks are run through, with every piece of relevant information they have.
2. MANDATORY TRAINING
The majority of gun owners in America are law-abiding citizens who have legitimate reasons for owning a gun. Yet, firearm accidents are a common occurrence and too many people, especially children, have died from the mishandling or improper storage of firearms. It’s time we enact a law that requires every prospective gun owner to be trained in the safe handling, use and storage of firearms.
3. prohibiting THE SALE OF ASSAULT-STYLE WEAPONS
The AR-15 and similar assault-style weapons were designed for one purpose: killing people. These weapons fire bullets at extreme velocities, causing damage far more severe - and far more lethal - than a typical gunshot injury.
The purchase of these weapons has been prohibited in the past, and it’s time they were prohibited again. We also need to go one step further and institute a buy-back program for these weapons and ensure that we reduce their availability as much as possible.
4. Prohibiting Automatic Firing and High Capacity Magazines
There is simply no need for any civilian-owned firearm to have a high-capacity magazine or the ability to fire bullets automatically. These modifications make guns far more lethal and have no need in hunting or self-defense.
That's why it is imperative that we prohibit the purchase of any high-capacity magazine (defined as a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds) and any device that either directly or indirectly allows a weapon to fire automatically (defined as the ability of a gun to fire more than one round without the user manually lifting their finger from the trigger). Just like assault-style weapons, these modifications must also be subject to a buy-back program.
5. STUDYING GUN VIOLENCE
Since 1996, Congress has made the use of federal funds for the CDC to study gun violence all but impossible with the passing of the Dickey Amendment. We must reverse this law, and go even further by earmarking federal research funds towards gun violence studies. Only by truly understanding gun violence and mass shootings can we hope to one day eradicate the gun violence epidemic in America.