The students of Parkland and all across America are right: enough is enough.
The gun laws in this country must be overhauled right now. We need clear, concise and thorough gun safety laws put in place on the federal level. No more loopholes. No more excuses.
I come from rural Wisconsin. I come from a long line of hunters. I grew up with guns in the house and own a hunting rifle myself. My mom made the front page of the newspaper when she shot her first buck. Hunting and guns are a part of who we are up here.
But when it comes to guns today, things have gotten out of hand. I believe that the right to keep and bear arms should be upheld. This isn’t about taking guns away. This is a gun safety issue, not a gun rights issue. This is about fixing a broken system and protecting American lives.
There is no place in everyday society for assault weapons. These weapons belong in our military and not on our streets.
As a member of Congress, I promise to fight for our lives by working to overhaul the federal gun safety laws in this country, starting with the initiatives below.
I stand with the victims and their families, the students, the parents, those not yet old enough to speak for themselves, and all who demand change now.
The debate is over.
ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN
The debate over what is and is not classified as an assault weapon is confusing for a reason.
I support an assault weapons ban.
Let’s be clear: assault weapons are meant for killing people, not for hunting or self-defense. Any gun capable of rapid-fire capabilities and that can be enhanced with high-capacity magazines or accessories like the ‘bump stock’ have no place in everyday society.
With such a ban, we must first clearly define "assault weapon" and vet all existing firearms and gun models under such definition. Then, institute a mandatory registration of all existing and classified assault weapons with an optional buy-back program.
For recreational use of these weapons by civilians, I propose that a strict permitting process be put in place for specialized organizations (such as gun clubs and shooting ranges) that allow such organizations to own these weapons for use by its licensed customers at its facilities.
FIREARMS LICENSES & MANDATORY TRAINING
Here’s something to think about: purchasing a gun is easier than voting in some states, including Wisconsin.
I support instituting federal firearms licensing and mandatory training programs.
If you want to buy, own, sell or transfer a gun or ammunition, then you should have to apply for a firearms license and take a mandatory training course on how to safely use and properly store firearms.
These licenses would be subject to renewal after a set duration through the completion of a shooting and safety course and psychological assessment.
AGE LIMITS, UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS & WAITING PERIODS
The federal minimum age to own a handgun is 18 while there is NO federal minimum age restriction to own a rifle or shotgun. This makes no sense.
I support a federal minimum age requirement of 21, universal background checks and waiting periods for all citizens who wish to apply for a firearms license and purchase guns or ammunition.
To obtain a firearms license, you must be 21 years of age (with the exception of active-duty military personnel or veterans under the age of 21) and complete a background check that includes a psychological assessment.
For all gun and ammunition purchases, there must be a 48-hour waiting period in place for additional screenings by a licensed firearms retailers and to combat straw purchases.
INVESTING IN FUTURE GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION
Why all the confusion? Let’s put our lives over profits and get to the bottom of the gun violence epidemic in this country once and for all.
I support public funding for the study of gun violence and prevention.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has had its hands tied since 1996 when the Dickey Amendment barred the organization from conducting research to advocate or promote gun control. The Republicans beg to differ, though this is hard to argue when the GOP-controlled House blocked a Democratic president’s request for $10 million to be allocated to the CDC to study gun violence every year between 2014 and 2017.
We need to fund the study of gun violence and get the bottom of these mass shootings before more lives are lost.