Responsible Gun Legislation – Justice for Children
Gun violence is a health crisis in this nation. I will advocate for the health and safety of our children by responsible gun laws and campaign finance reform. Seven children die as a result of gun violence every single day in the United States whether in their neighborhoods, in their schools, or in their churches.1 There have been more than 1,500 mass shootings since the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012.2 There were 846 firearm deaths in Indiana in 2015.3 These numbers are truly disturbing, and it is unacceptable that legislators have not taken action to curb gun violence.
Nothing in the 2nd Amendment prevents us from removing weapons of war, designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible, from the hands of civilians. The 2nd Amendment has become a marketing tool for gun manufacturers and the NRA. This issue is more about money than it is the Constitution. Citizens have the right to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment. For example, to hunt and have a gun at home for protection or carry with a permit. Congress should enact commonsense gun laws that continue to protect the rights of responsible gun owners, while preventing tragic and unnecessary deaths. Here are some of the actions I support:
- Require universal background checks, so that all gun purchases, including private gun sales, are recorded, and purchasers are verified through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. 74% of NRA members, and 87% of non-NRA members support criminal background checks for all gun purchases.4 A National permit-to-purchase policy has been successful in reducing gun related deaths in states where it has been enacted.5 Universal background checks can protect Hoosier by:
- Banning gun sales to people with a history of violent behavior, including domestic violence.
- Banning sales to people on terrorist watch lists.
- Banning or removing guns from homes with suicidal residents.
- Reenact the lapsed Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Assault rifles have become the weapon of choice for mass murderers in the US, and were used to kill innocent victims at Sandy Hook, Orlando, Aurora, San Bernardino, Las Vegas, and Parkland. They are far too easy to get, and they make mass shootings far too common.
- Criminalize the possession of automatic and semiautomatic weapons. These weapons are difficult to defend against. While automatic weapons are no longer legal to manufacture for civilian use in the US, it is not hard or expensive to purchase kits that can convert semiautomatic weapons into ones that mimic the functionality of fully automatic weapons.
- Ban high capacity magazines. There is no purpose for high capacity magazines other than to maximize the loss of life.
- Repeal the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” which protects gun manufacturers from liability litigation. This would encourage manufactures to implement safety measures, such as “smart guns” that can only be discharged by authorized users.
- Fund the Centers for Disease Control to conduct research on gun violence. In 1996 Congress, at the urging of the National Rifle Association, forbade the CDC to advocate or promote gun control. As a result, the CDC eliminated all funding for research on gun violence, and no funding has been provided for more than 20 years. Research can provide information on what measures would be most effective in decreasing gun deaths in the United States.
- Institute a waiting period for all gun sales in the US. Any law-abiding citizen should be able to wait for at least one day, or until a complete background check has been completed, before purchasing a gun.
- Limit the number of guns a person can purchase each year. People without a license to sell guns should not be able to amass an arsenal without any scrutiny. The ATF prohibits the purchase of multiple handguns, but does not put limits on number of long guns that can be purchased in a given year.6 This loophole allowed the Las Vegas shooter to legally purchase more than 30 guns in less than one year without raising any red flags.
- Require child safety locks for all guns. This is one of the easiest measures that can be taken to prevent accidental deaths. No child should be able to operate a gun without adult supervision.
- Microstamp ammunition so that law enforcement is able to link bullet or cartridge casings to purchasers. This will help law enforcement identify and prosecute criminals.
- Control the manufacture and sale of armor piercing ammunition. No ordinary citizen has a legitimate use for “cop killer” ammunition. Sales and production of this type of ammunition should be closely monitored, if not banned altogether.
- Refuse to be influenced by the NRA. Far too many politicians are willing to compromise their ideals and endanger their constituents by accepting money from the National Rifle Association.7 I will not allow my decisions on gun control to be influenced by organizations that actively lobby against life-saving measures. I will not accept money from the NRA.
- Institute national concealed-carry laws that require permits to carry concealed weapons.
- Institute required safety training and exams for all gun owners. Safety training will help to ensure that all gun owners are well versed in the safe and legal operation of the weapons they own.
- Require that gun owners purchase insurance so that they are covered for accidental damage or injuries that might occur during gun use.
- Establish a national database for tracking guns sales. This will prevent the sale of lost or stolen guns and help law enforcement solve gun-related crimes.8