Pat Hackett (IN-02), "Common Sense and Responsible Gun Legislation"

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. There have been more than 2,100 mass shootings since the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012. There were 846 firearm deaths in Indiana in 2015 and 997 firearm deaths in Indiana in 2016. 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, close the gun show and internet loopholes, 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] Universal background checks can protect Hoosiers 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, Parkland and El Paso. These weapons of war are far too easy to obtain, 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 safety measures. 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.

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.
— https://pathackettforcongress.com/issue/gun-safety/

Tim Hickey (VA H59) Issue Statement

The 59th District contains its fair share of hunters and other law-abiding gun owners. And most of them agree that we must insist on responsible gun ownership. I believe in common-sense measures that have broad support across communities. For instance, every Virginian should undergo a background check before purchasing a gun. A simple background check requirement has been effective in other states. In fact, states that have universal background checks have roughly half the rate of gun violence against law enforcement officers, almost half the number of gun suicides and almost half the number of women shot and killed by domestic partners. Almost everyone also agrees that people with serious mental illness should not be purchasing firearms and that neither people with felony records nor domestic abusers should be buying guns. People are also starting to recognize that we need to listen to families and household members when they petition courts to temporarily remove firearms from those who are acting in a way that indicates they may carry out a shooting. This is just good sense. Devices like bump stocks and semi-automatic weapons with high capacity magazines are unnecessary and are endangering our communities. I will work to implement measures that will reduce gun violence while still respecting the 2nd Amendment. Every family has a guaranteed right to life and liberty.
— https://www.timhickeyfordelegate.com/protecting-ourcommunities

Jennifer Woofter (VA H22) Issue Statement

There are few topics more polarizing than gun rights. But studies show that we are more united than meets the eye. There are plenty of commonsense steps we can take right now to reduce unintended gun violence. Things like tax breaks for gun safes, restraining orders that stop domestic abusers and those in mental crisis from getting guns, and universal background checks. These issues have wide support across party lines.
— https://www.jenniferwoofterfordelegate.com/priorities

Flo Ketner (VA Sen-19) Issue Statement

We need to focus on the safety of our communities while also ensuring the safety of our farms protecting their livestock. We need to ensure our hunters are safe to catch the wildlife that feeds their families but also prevent children from life threatening instances. Safety is the number one concern. We need to ensure our schools, government buildings, and churches are safe for everyone. Forcing our teachers to acquire permits to carry a weapon while teaching our youth is not a safety measure. Government buildings are protected by security and forcing someone sitting at a reception desk to have a weapon is not a safety measure. Ensuring our families with weapons in their homes are keeping their guns safe utilizing approved gun locks and a secure gun safe is a safety measure.

Our police officers and our loving family members deserve the right to petition the courts about their concerns a permitted gun owner is not in a safe mental state and should be suspended until they feel they are back to good health. This is not simply for the safety of the public but the safety for our community and family members. Suicide is all too common and we should be taking measures to give our family and community members the support they need.
— https://www.floketner.com/

Jim Kennedy (FL-08) Issue Statement

As a Veteran, I support the Second Amendment. The right to bear arms is an American right, and should continue to be protected as much as our other rights. But there needs to be rules, same as with Free Speech, you can’t defame someone. Felons chose to live outside the law. Choosing to do so means they chose to give up some rights, in this case firearms. I think we can all agree this makes sense. Under Federal Law 18 U.S.C § 992(d), it is prohibited to ‘sell or dispose of any firearm to someone who has been adjudicated as mentally defective’. When someone has a history of abuse or violence or instability, the law needs to ensure they no longer have access to firearms. The Right to possess firearms should not be removed, but it needs to be regulated. If you want to own firearms, do a background check and get a license from law enforcement. All firearm sales need to be documented and reported.
— http://www.kennedyforflorida.com/issue/gun-laws/#more-3264

Sean Frame (CA-04) Issue Statement

As a local, I know that responsible gun ownership is part of life in our district; as someone whose life has been shaped by gun violence, I know that dangerous gun ownership must not be. Given the epidemic of gun violence in our country, we need to enact common sense gun legislation that keeps guns out of the hands of people who are most likely to use them to hurt themselves or others.

Support lawful and responsible gun ownership for hunting and self-defense

Encourage firearm training, including proper storage

Pass H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112 to require universal background checks for all gun purchases

Fund CDC study of gun violence as a public health crisis

Pass extreme risk/red flag laws that let family members and law enforcement petition courts to temporarily restrict a person’s access to guns if they pose a danger to themselves or others

Heavily restrict guns, gun modifications, and ammunition that maximize the potential to murder people by placing limits on key characteristics, including rate of fire, reload speed, magazine capacity, the lethality of bullets, and the like.

Remove special protections for gun manufacturers so that gunmakers can be held responsible for the damage their weapons cause and how they market.

Prevent forced reciprocity so that states can set their own gun laws including concealed carry, silencers, and other

Make social and emotional learning part of all school curricula

Recognize gun violence in domestic violence situations as a public health issue requiring mental and physical health treatment and intervention
— https://frame4congress.com/platform/

Dana Balter (NY-24) Facebook Post

I am heartbroken. I am tired. I am angry.

This morning, I woke up to the news of our 251st mass shooting this year. This problem is unique to the United States of America. There is no other country in the world where this phenomenon even enters double digits. We have no higher rates of mental illness than other countries do. Americans are not inherently more violent than people in other countries. And if more guns in the hands of good people were the answer, we wouldn’t have this problem—we have more guns than we do people in this country.

Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi need to call Congress back to Washington and get something done. There are multiple components to this crisis that we need our government to address. Let me be very clear. We know of many things our Congress could do tomorrow that would make a difference.

1. We have to name the threat of domestic terrorism. The FBI has been warning us about this rising threat for years. The driving ideology behind the increase in domestic terrorism is white supremacy. So the first thing we need our government to do is increase funding and other resources to study and pursue domestic terrorists. The Trump administration has cut funding for this endeavor.

2. We have to pass a slate of long overdue national gun safety measures. We should start by implementing universal background checks and closing the purchasing loopholes so no one can buy a gun without a background check. The House of Representatives finally passed this a few months ago (John Katko is opposed) but Mitch McConnell won’t bring it to a vote in the Senate. We need red flag laws that are actually effective. We need to ban the weaponry of choice for mass shootings including assault style weapons and accessories like bump stocks and high capacity magazines. We need to repeal the Dickey Amendment, the effect of which has been to prevent the CDC from studying gun violence, and fund massive studies.

3. We have to address the mental health question. It is more likely for someone with mental illness to be a victim of violence than a perpetrator. The Republican party’s rush to blame mental illness every time there is a mass shooting is an excuse to not deal with the problems of guns. It also has the very dangerous effect of further stigmatizing mental illness. We cannot allow them to continue this rhetoric. Having said that, we need to understand that the vast majority of gun deaths in this country are suicides and mental healthcare is woefully under-resourced and inaccessible to many who need it. We need to make mental healthcare affordable and accessible to every person in this country. And we need our elected officials to stop increasing the stigma which inhibits people from seeking care. We also need to make sure that the victims of gun violence have the appropriate long-term counseling. The trauma affects many more than just those who are shot. We have generations of children growing up in this reality.

We can and should do all of these things. But there is something more we have to deal with. The culture of hate and fear that enables and emboldens people to commit these atrocities. The current president of the United States promotes this culture every day. The president continually fosters an environment of hatred for the “other” and anyone who says otherwise is either lying or not paying attention. This is not a matter of being “undisciplined” or impulsive with tweets. Using words like “infestation” and “animals” to refer to people is an intentional tactic of dehumanization. That dehumanization ultimately leads to killing. We see it over and over again throughout history. That is why it is imperative for people of conscience to stand up and say no every time the president uses that kind of language. Every time he demonizes the “other.” Every time he says something racist, xenophobic, or misogynistic. To stay quiet is to condone it. To hide behind “political division” is cowardice. To stay silent is to be complicit.
— https://www.facebook.com/DanaBalterForCongress/

Tom Winter (MT-AL) Facebook Post

We need more from politicians than “thoughts & prayers” or “heart is broken” posts about the terrorism in El Paso today.

Let’s talk policy to save lives, now:

-insitute red flag laws
⁃disarm domestic abusers
⁃eliminate gun show & strawman loopholes
⁃seriously invest in mental health to stem the suicide crisis
⁃*actually focus* on terrorist threat of white nationalism

It’s only a start, but it might stem the heartache for future generations. The community of El Paso deserves nothing less.

Of course the 2nd amendment is the settled law of the land. Of course you own guns - I do too. But, these are things we can do to save lives now, without infringing on our constitution or our rights.

Enough is enough.
— https://www.facebook.com/WinterForMontana/

Jillian Freeland (CO-05) Facebook Post

I will actually DO SOMETHING. Gun violence is preventable. Background checks, sensible regulation, and access to mental healthcare are not too much to ask. The vast majority of Americans support it. There is no excuse to continue with thoughts and prayers, it’s time to ACT.
— https://www.facebook.com/FreelandCD5/

Carolyn Long (WA-03) Issue Statement

I support Americans’ 2nd Amendment right to bear arms; however, we must treat the epidemic of gun violence like the public health crisis that it is. We have a duty to seek bipartisan solutions that will have an effective, lasting impact on gun violence. Policies like closing the loopholes on background checks, funding CDC research into gun violence, and closing the gun show loophole already have wide bipartisan support and we owe the thousands of victims of gun violence action instead of thoughts.

As a mother of a teenage daughter who goes to public school, and as an educator working at a public University, I share the worries of families who fear for their children’s safety when they should be focused on their education. It is a shame that our children are murdered and we do nothing to solve the problem because of special interest groups like the NRA.

Washington state is leading the way with sensible gun laws and the other Washington should follow our lead. We are saving lives with laws that temporarily restrict firearms from domestic abusers and those that have been adjudicated mentally ill. Congress needs to act and enact these kinds of laws at the Federal level.

All too often, the debate on guns focuses only on homicides when, in fact, over 60% of gun deaths are suicides. The research is clear: guns allow people to kill themselves much more easily than other methods. Families need to have the ability to work with law enforcement and mental health professionals to prevent tragedy and save lives.
— https://electlong.com/priorities/#gun-violence-prevention

Peter Khalil (WA-03) Issue Statement

39,773 Americans were killed by guns in 2017, the highest number in 50 years. Guns kill more adolescents in this country than cancer does. School shootings are routine. Communities of color experience disproportionately high homicide rates. As trauma surgeons across the country have argued so eloquently, gun violence is a serious public health issue. It doesn’t have to be this way. Cities and states across the country have managed to cut gun violence significantly without denying the 2nd amendment. We have the right to feel safe at school, at the movies, at work, and at worship.

Common-sense gun safety laws have been proven to work in the states that pass them, Washington included. If we pass these gun laws federally, we can save lives while still taking into account differences in gun culture in urban and rural areas. We need universal background checks for all firearms sales, no exceptions. Background checks help keep weapons out of the hands of people with a proven history of violence, including domestic violence and stalking.

Though these gun safety measures will help decrease gun violence in America, it will take a comprehensive push to address the many factors that drive gun violence at a societal level. We are often prevented from having a sustained, honest conversation on the issue because of the influence of the gun lobby in both state and federal politics. It is also true that 60% of gun deaths are suicides. This number is as high as it is because of both the easy availability of guns and the narrow availability of mental healthcare. Anti-corruption legislation and universal mental healthcare are as much a part of ending gun deaths as universal background checks.
— https://www.khalilforcongress.com/category/gun-violence/

Carol Iannuzzi (TX-26) Issue Statement

I am a Native Texan and have respect for individuals’ rights to the 2nd Amendment. As a mom, the thought of children in schools or in the interfaith communities not being safe is unacceptable to me.

In Congress, I will work to:

Require criminal background checks on every gun sale: Background checks protect the rights of responsible gun owners and save lives. Loopholes in our current laws allow felons, domestic abusers, and the severely mentally ill to avoid background checks by buying guns, often online, from sellers who are not required by federal law to run background checks. Background checks are the best way to ensure folks who are a danger to themselves or others are not able to legally purchase firearms.

Keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals and domestic abusers: A woman is five times more likely to die if a gun is present in a domestic violence situation. We must close loopholes that allow abusive dating partners or spouses, and individuals who have been convicted of misdemeanor stalking to purchase guns.

Keep weapons of war off our streets. I applaud the swift action by the government of New Zealand that banned military-style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles, and high-capacity magazines following mass shootings. We can do this here in America!

Support Red Flag laws. An individual deemed a risk to themselves or others should not have access to firearms. Additionally, there are multiple examples of warning signs with individuals who have committed mass shootings. Red flag laws give family members and law enforcement officials the ability to temporarily restrict access to firearms to individuals who are at risk. This bipartisan solution can and will save lives.

Support firearm research: I support appropriately funding the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so it can perform research into mental health issues. We want research to help identify the appropriate policies to aid in the prevention of gun violence.
— https://carol2020.com/#/gun-violence-prevention/

Chris Rowe (TN-01) Issue Statement

Gun laws need to be reformed, no question. That said, I draw the line very clearly at banning semi-automatic weapons. I will support and push legislation which will actually make a change, including but not limited to: expanding background checks to private sales, required mental health screenings, red flag laws, banning violent criminals and domestic abusers from ownership, and similar measures. We don’t need to be banning more firearms from all people, we need to be banning all firearms from some people.

Gina Collias (NC-10) Issue Statement

The Republican Party refuses to enact common sense gun reforms, that a majority of gun owners support, because they are dependent on the NRA for money. I support universal background checks and closing the gun show loopholes. This isn’t about taking away the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners. This is about making our country safer and preventing additional mass shootings.

I am a gun owner, and I believe in the importance of the 2nd Amendment and the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms. No matter what, it’s time for our leaders to listen to our real fears, not about losing our guns, but getting news that our child has been shot. Enough is enough. I will work hard to ensure the safety of our children.

As a mom, I am guided by my moral compass, and I will not accept any funding from the NRA. We need passage of common sense gun laws. We need national discussions on what will work including higher age requirements for purchase, robust mental health, universal background checks that are coordinated between federal and state agencies, and funding for CDC research into the causes of gun violence.

I will not be bullied by a gun lobby at the expense of our kids. I will represent you.

Tedra Cobb (NY-21) Issue Statement

Tedra Cobb is committed to maintaining an individual’s access to firearms for safe hunting and personal protection, while working to minimize gun violence, an escalating public health crisis. She calls on Congress to reject partisanship and address the issue with reason, integrity and cooperation.

By working together, we can ensure public health and safety while maintaining the freedoms guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment.

Congress has a moral and legal obligation to institute gun-related policies that protect the people.

We must reject partisanship and approach discussions about gun rights and public safety with sensitivity, objectivity and pragmatism.

Fully fund and allow the Centers for Disease Control to research causes of and solutions to gun violence.

Implement effective universal background checks for all gun sales, whether at gun shows, via the internet or at retailers.

Ban bump stocks and all other modifications that make a firearm fully automatic.

Expand protections under domestic violence statutes for domestic partners and victims of stalking.

Prohibit people who have committed hate crimes and/or who are on the terror watch list from purchasing guns.

Increase mental health service screenings to make sure questions are asked to determine whether those at risk of self-harm or harming others have access to firearms.

Revoke conceal-and-carry reciprocity that allows persons with permits from states with looser laws from carrying a firearm in states with stronger laws, like New York.

Increase funding and support for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

RELATED POLICY POSITIONS

Repeal the Tiahart Amendment, which requires that ATF gun traces be performed on paper, effectively making them useless in prevention of trafficking, and prohibits the ATF from requiring gun dealers to perform regular inventory checks.

Support campaign finance reforms that prevent organizations from bribing their representatives with campaign dollars.

Reject the idea of arming teachers in public schools.

Require gun safety courses and exams before issuing a license to purchase any gun.
— https://www.tedracobb.com/issues/addressing-gun-violence/

Cathy Albro (MI-03) Issue Statement

When I was a young girl, two accidental shootings shook my family. My cousin shot his brother, my uncle shot his cousin. Both died. Back then we didn’t talk about it a lot. But it really tore the family apart.

Since then senseless gun violence has continued. The recent Parkland, Florida shooting is part of a long line of tragedy. Enough is enough. We have a gun problem.

Since Sandy Hook, 430 children have been killed in schools. I wonder how those parents feel knowing their children might still be alive today if Congress had the courage to act. We cannot sit back and let the NRA make decisions for us. Students are leading the movement against gun violence and it’s time for us to support and listen. I vow to fight for the safety of our children and all of us who are potential victims of senseless gun violence.

The United States is the only developed country on earth where citizens have easy access to high powered weapons. State-by-state patchwork approaches to confront this serious public safety issue are not good enough. Many killers pass current background checks in their states or fall through the cracks completely.

We must demand reasonable gun restrictions. Restrictions on freedoms granted by the Constitution have been implemented throughout our history for the safety of society. I respect the Constitutional right to have a weapon. We must also meet our Constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense and general welfare of our people. In Congress, I promise to stand up to the NRA and pass commonsense gun laws. I will work to find compassionate colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stand with me. In Congress I will defend your rights: your rights to the 2nd Amendment AND your rights for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Weapons designed for military use should only be in the hands of those well qualified to use them.

We must study gun violence. And the dialogue cannot end there.

We need to invest in our teachers, support staff, and specialized services. They truly hold an important key to the life-long mental health of all in the U.S. Our children need support in finding constructive outlets for their anger. They need educators trained in de-escalation. Educators should not carry guns in their classrooms.
— https://cathyalbroforcongress.com/the-issues/

Julia Peacock (CA-42) Issue Statement

There are 27 amendments to the US Constitution. The 2nd Amendment is but one. As a matter of record, in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008, Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court ruled that the right to possess firearms in America “is not unlimited.”

During the assault weapons ban that began in 1994, there was a dramatic decrease in the number of deaths in mass shootings. When Congress refused to renew the ban in 2004, the number of deaths dramatically increased, even though there were only 7 more incidents.

Even gun owners agree on an assault weapons ban. So do I. As a parent and public school teacher who routinely practices active shooter drills, I believe we have a moral obligation to cherish the lives of our children more than we cherish our right to bear arms.

Ban assault weapons; ban sales to those with serious mental illness; universal background checks; national gun registry database; standardized waiting periods; gun ownership insurance which includes annual safety training, physicals, and mental health screenings; a ban on sales to those on the no-fly or watch lists. These common-sense laws cross party lines and help to protect our children and our communities from the tragedy of mass shootings.
— https://peacockforcongress.com/issues/#GunReform

Hiral Tipirneni (AZ-06) Issue Statement

As an ER doctor, I’ve seen the trauma, suffering and devastating loss of life from gun violence up close. The destruction it causes to the victims, their families and communities is heartbreaking and, oftentimes, avoidable.

I also support Second Amendment rights overall for law-abiding Americans to obtain firearms through legal channels to protect their homes, themselves and their families, and for hunting and sport. I do not see supporting both the Second Amendment and commonsense gun safety reform as mutually exclusive, though, and I find it increasingly difficult to follow arguments justifying the possession of military-grade weapons and similar accessories by the general public.

America, the only industrialized nation with this degree of violence, should address it as a public health issue. The U.S. has a history of using data-driven policies to make us safer – seat belts, child car seats, airbags. We should restore funding for gun violence research so that our policies actually have a positive impact on public safety. Are current laws effective? If not, why and what can be done to improve their implementation, or should the law itself be completely reformed?

The discussion should include innovative technologies, such as biometric locks and affordable, safe storage solutions.

I believe commonsense gun safety reform can ultimately be accomplished while protecting the rights of lawful gun owners. There is already consensus between households with firearms and those without, which include:

Closing the Internet and gun show “loopholes” by requiring background checks;

“No-fly, no buy” so that those on terrorist watch lists have harder access to firearms;

Ensuring that purchasers have passed necessary background checks, properly registered their firearm(s), and received appropriate gun safety training.

Finally, mental health must also be part of equation. Mass shootings are truly horrific and instantly capture our attention. However, suicides and homicides make up nearly 90% of gun-related deaths according to 2016 data available. When addressing the issue of gun violence, we too often ignore the contributing role of mental health issues, including substance abuse and addiction, to our regrettable detriment.
— https://hiralforcongress.com/issues/second-amendment-rights/