Too many lives are lost and irreparably damaged by gun violence across the United States and at home in Oregon. Gun violence is a public health crisis.
As a lifelong gun owner, I firmly believe in the right of law-abiding citizens to own and access firearms. I will always work tirelessly to protect all American’s constitutionally granted Second Amendment rights.
However, we have a responsibility to keep our schools, places of worship and communities safe. That is why I am a cosponsor and strong supporter of HR 8, a bipartisan bill which would expand background checks and enact commonsense laws like Oregon has. Every year, background checks stop 88,000-gun sales to criminals, domestic abusers, individuals with dangerous mental illnesses or other prohibited purchasers. This legislation was passed by the House of Representatives at the start of 2019 and I have signed on to a letter urging Senator McConnell to take up this lifesaving legislation in the Senate and I will continue to urge my Senate colleagues to support this bipartisan bill. I am also a co-sponsor of legislation that would enact federal red flag laws which have already been enacted here in Oregon. HR 3076, the “Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2019” would empower law enforcement officers and the courts to ensure that those who pose a threat to themselves or others do not have access to firearms. Oregon is one of thirteen states with “red flag laws” and they have proven time and time again to be highly effective at reducing rates of gun violence. I am part of a bipartisan working group that is focused on passing federal “red flag law” legislation this Congress. Additionally, I am a cosponsor of the STANDUP Act which would provide Congress with more data from the Department of Education, Department of Justice and Health and Human Services on school shootings which is sorely needed. It is time for these agencies to provide policymakers with information about safety and prevention protocols so that we can make our school as safe as possible.
Gun violence is senseless and tragic, and it is preventable. We must work together to ensure that no more lives are lost because of it. I believe that it is entirely possible to protect the Second Amendment while reducing gun deaths and injuries. Oregonians need more than thoughts and prayers, and I am committed to working across the aisle to find solutions and enact legislation.