The stark fact is that Americans suffer more gun violence than people in any other developed country and our children are particularly at risk. Gun violence in the United States is not inevitable, nor should we accept it as the status quo. We need to address this issue for what it is: a public health crisis that threatens the well-being and peace of mind of urban and rural communities across the country.
Earl's report, Enough Is Enough: A Comprehensive Plan to Improve Gun Safety lays out common sense steps that we can and should take to end gun violence. While there is no single solution, we can learn from other challenges that the United States has faced and overcome. Using the examples of automobile safety and tobacco use, two significant public safety issues where the government responded in ways that dramatically reduced injury and death, success came from defining the problem, identifying risk factors, testing prevention strategies, and ensuring widespread adoption of effective solutions. By using this same process we can reduce gun-related deaths and injuries.
Here are specific actions that should be taken:
- Close the "private sale loophole" and implement comprehensive and uniform background checks for any gun purchases.
- Have law enforcement follow up with each person who fails the background check.
- Ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines that are unsafe in any space.
- Remove barriers to research gun violence.
- Make sure that guns are tested and regulated like every other consumer product.
- Empower health care professionals to discuss all matters that affect their patients' health including gun ownership.
- Ensure better regulation of gun dealers and focus compliance on unscrupulous gun dealers.
- Enforce existing gun laws by not letting the gun lobby undermine enforcement agencies.
- Require that people purchasing a gun have liability insurance.
- Improve mental health services to help people with mental health issues.
- Provide more resources for first responders, schools and public facilities personnel to deal with active-shooter situations.
For more information about legislation that the House has passed to address gun violence, please contact the office.