Gun Violence Prevention
The United States is the only industrialized country in the world where mass shootings occur on a daily basis. America’s gun violence epidemic disproportionately impacts communities of color and inflicts deeper trauma in the lives of people who are already struggling. Common sense gun laws will save lives, but the inability to break the NRA’s stranglehold on our corrupt government has protected the billion-dollar gun manufacturing industry over the mental and physical well-being of our communities. No one should have to live in paralyzing fear of extremism. Children who can barely read shouldn’t have to practice throwing books at an active shooter.
In a country with more guns than people - where we arm police officers in schools before investing in more guidance counselors - it’s time to think differently about how we protect our communities from gun violence. We need to fund an investigation into the NRA and their third-party vendors that enable them to skirt the rules and exploit loopholes in existing federal laws. We also need to hold both gun dealers and manufacturers accountable by prosecuting gun traffickers, revoking licenses for gun dealers who break the rules, empowering gun violence survivors to hold manufacturers responsible for compensatory damages, and raising taxes on gun manufacturers.
We must do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of those at the highest risk of violence, which includes passing extreme risk protection laws that allow families and law enforcement to petition for temporarily restricted access to firearms for individuals in crisis or at increased risk of harming themselves or others. Congress should pass an assault weapons ban prohibiting the future production, sale, and importation of military-style assault weapons and require individuals already in possession of assault weapons to register them under the National Firearms Act. We should also establish a buyback program to allow owners of assault weapons to return their weapon for safe disposal if they wish to do so, and individuals who fail to register or return their assault weapon should face penalties.
I will work diligently in Congress to pass gun violence prevention legislation that includes:
- Universal background checks for private sales including at gun shows and online. These mandates should be permanent and should close the “Charleston loophole” that allows a sale to proceed after three days even if the background check is not complete.
- Raising the minimum age to buy a firearm to at least 18 years old, keeping guns out of the hands of more teenagers.
- Reporting on multiple purchases and bulk sales of guns in all 50 states.
- Closing the “boyfriend loophole” to protect survivors of domestic abuse by defining “intimate partner” to include anyone with a domestic violence conviction involving any form of romantic partner, and expanding the law to include individuals with restraining orders or who have been convicted of stalking.
- Creating a federal licensing system for the purchase of any type of firearm or ammunition.
- Prohibiting anyone convicted of a hate crime from owning a gun, full stop. There is no excuse for guns used in acts of violence intended to stoke fear in minority communities.
- Establishing a one-week waiting period for all firearms purchases to prevent impulsive gun violence and reduce gun suicides.
- Improving the Gun-Free School Zones Act to include college and university campuses, and individuals licensed by a state or locality to carry a firearm.