3rd PIN - COMMON SENSE GUN LAWS
Let's honor the wishes and will of the majority, not those of the gun lobbyists.
In today’s polarized political environment, there is one issue that over 90% of Americans actually agree on, according to recent polls: something must be done about the American gun violence epidemic. But after every tragic school shooting, we hear the same rhetoric in a horrific cycle of events: Thoughts and prayers and inaction. We elected our representatives to represent us and solve problems. This is a problem and we need solutions, not thoughts and prayers. I know the gun violence epidemic is far more complex than our society’s critical shortcomings around mental health—and I’m not afraid to take a strong stance on the issue. In my opinion piece in the Intelligencer, I explained:
“Until we address the prolific access to assault weapons, these unstable individuals will continue to slip through those cracks [in our nation’s mental health system]; armed to the teeth, with no measurable defense for citizens who find themselves caught in the crossfire... The rights of individuals to live free from fear that friends, husbands, wives, sons or daughters might be the next victim of senseless gun violence should be paramount.”
It is critical to elect bold leaders who are unafraid to take a clear, decisive stand on common-sense gun reform; and who will advocate fiercely to put action behind those words. Too often our current representative sits quietly on the sidelines. The deafening silence speaks volumes about an out-of-touch leadership and offers absolutely nothing to solve our deadly problem.
It’s too easy to just say “we need gun control.” Whenever I’m asked about gun control, I talk about the specific methods of gun control that we need. If elected, I’ll make it my priority to fight for background checks for all gun owners. Background checks are crucial to keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill and dangerous individuals. The Pennsylvania Instant Check System has blocked 150,000 sales to prohibited purchasers, but there are loopholes that prevent the system from being completely effective. For example, this system does not apply to the private sales of rifles and shotguns, allowing potentially thousands of sales to slip through the cracks of background check requirements. I’ll fight to make sure that the Pennsylvania Instant Check System covers all firearm sales.
There are many more methods of gun control that I passionately support, and in Pennsylvania, we already have efforts underway to pass these policies. All we have to do is have the courage to speak truth to power and move our country in the direction that countless other countries have already embraced, with great success.
Just a few examples that are already in the works are:
Universal Background Checks Requiring criminal and mental health background checks for all gun purchases, closing loopholes that allow dangerous individuals to easily purchase firearms.
Lost and Stolen Reporting Mandating the reporting of lost or stolen firearms within 72 hours of discovery, giving law enforcement a head start on finding and recovering weapons that may later be used in criminal activity. American gun owners report losing around 237,000 firearms each year to thieves, but there are likely thousands more thefts that go unreported. Stolen guns can easily fall into the wrong hands and fuel violent crime.
Firearm Restraining Order Allowing families, friends, and others, to petition courts for an order requiring an individual to temporarily forfeit their firearms when there is good cause to believe they pose an immediate threat to the safety of a family, household member, or other people
Banning the Sale of Rapid Firing Devices Banning the sale of rapid firing devices like “bump stocks” which are described as being able to simulate fully automatic rates of fire, and were used in the massacre in Las Vegas last October.
Mental Health Disqualifications Sent to the (NICS) Ensuring that mental health disqualifications are sent to the National Firearms Background Check System (NICS) within 72 hours of the state police receiving new mental health data.
Background Check for Ammunition Purchases Requiring background checks for the purchase of ammunition, a process similar to that of purchasing a firearm.
And finally, Banning Sales and Possession of Semi-automatic Rifles with certain military-style features and large magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. These are weapons of war and should NOT be placed in the hands of individuals who are unqualified to wield them. During the 10-year federal assault rifle ban, which lasted from 1994 to 2004, civilian deaths from assault rifles fell 37%. However, such deaths then increased a whopping 138% in the ten-year period after the ban was lifted.
Yes — this will not solve all the problems nor is it a guarantee that horrific events like these will never happen again. But it at least would be finally stacking the deck in our favor and significantly reducing the risk that burdens this country on a daily basis.
Boling, Daryl. “And the Children Will Lead Them All.” The Intelligencer, The Intelligencer, 31 Mar.
“Editorial: Still Waiting for Candidates' Gun Views.” Bucks County Courier Times, Bucks County
Courier Times, 4 Apr. 2018, www.buckscountycouriertimes.com/opinion/20180405/editorial-still-waiting-for-candidates-gun-views.
“Issue: Background Checks.” CeaseFire PA,
LA Times, The Editorial Board. “Gun Thefts Feed Violent Crime, but Inane Federal Laws Make It
Hard to Confront the Problem.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 29 Nov. 2017, www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-guns-thefts-nra-congress-20171129-story.html.
McCarthy, Niall, and Felix Richter. “Infographic: Is It Time To Bring Back The Assault Weapons
Ban?” Statista, 16 Feb. 2018, www.statista.com/chart/12943/is-it-time-to-bring-back-the-assault-weapons-ban/.
Nass, Daniel. “Gun Theft from Legal Owners Is on the Rise, Quietly Fueling Violent Crime
across America.” Stltoday.com, STLtoday.com, 3 Dec. 2017, www.stltoday.com/news/national/gun-theft-from-legal-owners-is-on-the-rise-quietly/article_73e10a94-b97e-55f6-b202-471ae54816a7.html.
Quinnipiac University. “June 2017 Quinnipiac Poll.” QU Poll,