All of us were horrified by the mass shooting in Las Vegas weeks ago, the worst in modern American history. Since that day hundreds more Americans have been shot. The epidemic is with us constantly, inflicting suffering and death on American families. I strongly believe that Congress has a moral duty to act on this crisis.
Preventing gun violence has been a major priority since I took office. I participated in the House sit-in to demand solutions to gun violence, and remain outspoken on this issue. Here are my positions on some legislation related to firearms and gun violence:
Gun Violence Restraining Orders: Data shows that many acts of gun violence, particularly suicides and mass shootings, are committed by people in moments of crisis. I introduced the Gun Violence Restraining Order Act (HR 2598) with Rep. Carbajal to give families and law enforcement the chance to remove gun access from people deemed dangerous to themselves or others.
This measure has already proven effective in Connecticut and California.
Background Checks: I support requiring a background check for every gun purchase. I also support targeted measures to restrict gun access from people convicted of hate crimes (HR 2841) or domestic violence (HR 2670).
Weapons of War: The Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment is not an unlimited right. There is no need for civilians to own military-style rifles, expanded-capacity ammunition magazines, and armor-piercing bullets. I support and cosponsor legislation to ban the sale of these weapons of war outside of law enforcement and the military.
I am a cosponsor of the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act, which would ban devices, including bump stocks like the ones used in Las Vegas, which effectively transform semi-automatic weapons into machine guns.
Research and Legal Recourse: The gun lobby has held significant influence in Congress for decades, and that influence has bought the gun industry protections which no other industry receives. I support lifting the ban on CDC research into causes and possible remedies for gun violence (HR 1478), and have cosponsored a bill to lift legal protections with which Congress has shielded gun manufacturers from liability for malfeasance and wrongdoing. Additionally, I cosponsored legislation to create a Select Committee in the House to investigate causes and propose legislative solutions that could reduce the number of Americans killed by guns every year.
Silencers, the SHARE Act, and Concealed Carry Reciprocity: In 2016 I led the charge against the SHARE Act, a bill which would end environmental and wildlife protections as well as deregulate certain armor-piercing ammunition and loosen restrictions on some interstate firearm trafficking. This year that bill is back, and its Republican sponsors have added a measure to deregulate firearm suppressors, commonly known as silencers. I fought this bill in Committee and voted against it, and will continue to strongly oppose both the SHARE Act and any bill to reduce restrictions on silencers.
I also oppose concealed carry reciprocity legislation, which would override state and local laws restricting who can carry firearms. Both of these measures are widely opposed by law enforcement because they would make our communities less safe.
Gun violence claims over 30,000 American lives per year. I do not believe it is enough to offer “thoughts and prayers;” we must honor the victims of gun violence by passing responsible, commonsense gun safety laws to save lives.