Reducing Gun Violence

The students of Parkland, Florida are right – it is beyond time for our public officials to reduce gun violence and prevent tragic shootings. No parent or teacher should have to tell their children that they need to be prepared to hide in a closet if someone comes into their school with a gun and tries to shoot them. Our schools and streets should be safe, which is what drove me to tackle gang violence and take guns from felons while in the U.S. Attorney’s office, and it is an important driver of my decision to enter this congressional race.

Sensible gun laws are not a partisan issue. On average, approximately 3,000 children and teens are fatal victims of gun violence each year; that number swells to 33,000 when adults are included.

Briefly setting aside the national dialogue, there are three irrefutable and unacceptable facts about gun violence in Pennsylvania. First, Pennsylvania placed fifth in the nation for highest homicides in 2015. Second, Pennsylvania’s law enforcement officers are victims of gun violence at an exceptionally high rate, ranking 18th in the nation for officers killed with a firearm.Third, Pennsylvanians are more likely to be killed by guns than they are to die in car accidents. Legislation must be passed to introduce more common sense to Pennsylvania’s gun laws.

As a federal prosecutor, I helped obtain the conviction of a felon who left his unsecured gun within reach of his young child – the child died while playing with the gun. I helped ensure that an individual charged with a felony and found incompetent by a court was prohibited from legally possessing a firearm. I helped take assault weapons, such as AR-15s, Tec 9s, and AK-47s, from violent drug trafficking gangs in Delaware County. I have prosecuted violent felons who drove to other states to purchase firearms from internet sellers so that they could bring those firearms back to Delaware County and commit crimes. Immediate action must be taken to close loopholes in our gun laws and keep guns out of the hands of felons, terrorists, domestic abusers and those who are mentally ill.

As your Representative, I will prioritize the safety of Americans and propose and support measures that can reduce the likelihood of gun tragedies and promote safe and prosperous communities. Some of the commonsense legislative measures I would support include:

  • Expanding the existing criminal background check system to cover all commercial firearm sales, including those at gun shows, over the internet, or in classified ads, while providing reasonable exceptions for certain family and friend transfers;
  • Expanding laws to ensure that individuals declared mentally incompetent and those on the “No-Fly” terrorist watch list are prohibited from purchasing firearms;
  • Moving to ban weapons of war from private ownership, such as AR 15s, Tec 9s, AK-47s, as well as large capacity ammunition magazines and bump stocks; and
  • Ending the Republican prohibition on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention from studying gun violence as a health issue.