Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook. Aurora. Las Vegas. Parkland. The list goes on and on. Each life taken due to gun violence is not just another name on a list — it’s someone’s mom or dad, someone’s best friend or high school sweetheart.

As a country, thoughts and prayers are no longer enough — we need legislation and change.

I believe that to make change, we first need to take on the gun lobby and their powerful stranglehold on Congress. 

As a proud member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, I know firsthand that too many Members of Congress are in the NRA’s pocket. Poll after poll shows the American people want to see a shift in the way this country handles the manufacturing and sale of guns. Yet tragedy after tragedy, Washington pledges action and nothing changes. To end this cycle, I want to get big money out of politics and reform our campaign finance system to ensure that the voice of the American people — not the NRA — is what lawmakers listen to. That’s why I’ve introduced Constitutional Amendments to overturn the Supreme Court’s Disastrous Citizens United decision and return power back to the people of this country, where it belongs. 

I also voted in support of the For The People Act, sweeping anti-corruption legislation to slow the revolving door between Congress and K Street, give teeth to federal ethics oversight by overhauling the Office of Government Ethics, close loopholes for lobbyists and foreign agents, ensure watchdogs have sufficient resources to enforce the law, and shine a light on dark money in politics by upgrading online political ad disclosure and requiring all organizations involved in political activity to disclose their large donors.

Every year, background checks stop around 88,000 gun sales to criminals, domestic abusers, individuals with severe mental illnesses and other purchasers who are prohibited from buying guns.

But in some states, those same people can buy the same weapons at a gun show, over the internet or through a newspaper ad with no questions asked. That’s why I proudly voted for the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 to expand background checks to cover all gun sales and most transfers.

I’m proud of states like Massachusetts that have led the nation in passing strong, commonsense gun violence prevention laws that are working. 

States that have passed expanded background checks, laws to disarm domestic abusers, and extreme risk protection orders see lower rates of gun-related deaths, gun trafficking, intimate partner gun violence, suicides, and mass shootings.

But I believe we can and must do more. To truly address gun violence as the public health crisis it is, we need to pass legislation like the Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act, which would:

  • Keep guns out of the wrong hands by banning individuals who present safety risks from buying guns, establishing Extreme Risk Protection Order systems, and cracking down on gun theft.
  • Ensure that guns are used and stored responsibly by raising the minimum age for all gun or ammunition purchases to 21, establishing a 7-day waiting period for the purchase of all guns, strengthening gun storage laws, and banning guns on all school campuses.
  • Hold the gun industry accountable by clarifying that gun manufacturers can be held liable for civil penalties for the harms their guns cause, authorizing the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to address safety defects in firearms and firearm accessories, and raising the excise tax on gun sales to 30% and ammunition sales to 50%.
  • Invest in research and community-based gun violence prevention by providing $100 million in annual funding for federal research into gun violence and creating a new grant program to provide $100 million per year for gun violence intervention programs.
  • Keep weapons of war off our streets by banning military-style assault weapons, lethal gun accessories, and untraceable and undetectable firearms.
  • Crack down on gun trafficking by banning bulk gun purchases and establishing a new law to specifically ban gun trafficking.
  • Improve oversight of gun dealers by strengthening ATF’s authority to inspect gun shops, enhancing record-keeping requirements for gun dealers, and repealing harmful appropriations riders that limit law enforcement’s ability to trace guns that are used in crimes and hold gun dealers accountable when they break the law.

Finally, I strongly believe that the Constitution gives every law-abiding American the right to own a firearm. 

This debate is not a choice between ending gun violence and protecting the second amendment — but rather, between protecting responsible gun owners from powerful special interests in Washington who care more about their bottom line than about saving lives.

I know that Congress must do more to prevent gun violence, and I will do everything in my power to support common-sense solutions that prevent tragedy and save lives.