In the wake of Parkland, your knowledge of and participation in the debate over gun control is essential! Over the next few months Congress will be considering a number of urgent gun violence prevention measures. We must create a safer country for every student and for our nation as a whole. Scroll down to learn more about some of the first steps we need to take to tackle this deadly issue.
3. Ensure that abusers cannot buy guns
Domestic abusers should never have access to firearms, but there are many gaps in our federal firearms laws and enforcement that allow domestic abusers to purchase and possess guns.
- Domestic violence perpetrators are able to purchase guns even after a background check is conducted because their convictions are not being uploaded into the system. The FIX NICS Act creates new guidelines to enforce states’ responsibility to upload domestic violence records into the federal background check system and allows for money to be withheld from certain political appointees who neglect to upload the information.
- Domestic abusers are not allowed to possess firearms after a protective order is filed against them, but in most cities police don’t have the capacity to remove these weapons. Money needs to be allocated to law enforcement across the country so they can develop procedures to remove these weapons from dangerous individuals.
- Federal law needs to be changed so that stalkers and dating abusers are not able to buy firearms. Closing the “boyfriend loophole” would protect millions of survivors who don’t live with their abuser, aren’t married to their abuser, or don’t have a child with their abuser.
The Senate is set to vote on FIX NICS as early as today - call your Senators and tell them to vote YES on Fix NICs and also call for a vote on Sen. Klobuchar’s bill S. 1539, Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act.
2. Firearm restrictions
Assault weapons are weapons of war. Unfortunately they are also weapons of choice for mass murderers.
We need to make sure that no more assault weapons are produced and purchased in our country and reinstate the Federal Assault Weapons Ban! When the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1993 expired in 2004 the limit on assault weapons and high capacity magazines went away overnight. We need to ban the weapons of choice for mass shooters and restrict the number of rounds of ammunition in magazines. Bump stocks, a firearm accessory that increases the firing power of semi-automatic weapons, also need to be banned through federal regulation. Lastly, young adults should not be able to purchase any firearms – raising the age limit from 18 to 21 is a good first step in curbing the epidemic of gun violence in this country. Tell your Senators to support all of these policies by cosponsoring S. 2095 the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017, S. 1945 the Keep Americans Safe Act, and S. 1945 the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act.
1. Gun Violence Restraining Orders
Individuals at risk of hurting themselves or others should not have access to a gun. Current federal law bars individuals who have been committed involuntarily to a mental institution or have been found not guilty by reason of insanity from purchasing or possessing a firearm. While mental illness is often associated with mass shootings, research shows that only 4% of interpersonal gun violence is caused by those diagnosed with a mental illness. Anger and impulsivity, a history of trauma or abuse, stressful life events, and environmental factors are much more likely to cause an individual to act violently against others. One way to protect the individual from harming themselves or others is to remove the gun from the at-risk person. The Gun Violence Prevention Order Act of 2017 would allow a family member or law enforcement officer to petition a court to temporarily remove firearms from an individual they believe to poses a harm to themselves or others. Call your Senators and Representative and tell them to cosponsor S. 1212 and H.R. 2598!