It is the right of every law-abiding citizen to keep and bear arms. But gun ownership is a massive responsibility, and steps should be taken to ensure the safety of our communities. Gun safety is of paramount importance in our schools; students must have an environment that is conducive to learning and not disrupted by the threat of gun violence.
There are many measures geared toward this goal already in place, but we must address the faulty mechanisms that often render them unenforceable. We need to create a nationwide firearm eligibility database that is interconnected from state to state. Someone convicted of an offense that prevents them from purchasing a firearm in one state should not be able to simply purchase one in a neighboring state or at a gun show. The Tennessee Waffle House shooting might have been prevented if the state of Tennessee had known that the shooter’s gun license had been revoked by the state of Illinois.
Throughout the United States, cities and states with strong gun laws have managed to cut gun violence significantly without infringing on Second Amendment rights. Common-sense gun control could save lives and make communities and schools safer by banning assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks. The federal assault weapons ban, which had a clear impact on the toll of mass shootings, should be reinstated, strengthened, and made permanent. Convicted domestic abusers and stalkers should be required to surrender their firearms.
One in five gun owners obtained their most recent gun without a background check. Those barred from buying guns often gravitate toward a “private sale," which is another dangerous loophole in the background check system. I support mandatory background checks on all firearm purchases and transfers, whether from a gun shop, the internet, a gun show, or a private sale. The congressional ban on studying gun violence should be ended immediately. Gun ownership is a serious responsibility, and gun owners should be held liable for failing to secure their guns when their firearms are involved in a crime or accident. Improving gun safety and enacting common-sense legislation could help prevent the tragic loss of more innocent lives while ensuring that no law-abiding American is prevented from owning firearms for self-defense.