America's gun violence epidemic is a stain on our society. For too long, we’ve stood by and watched as our elementary schools, churches, and music festivals turn into bloody scenes of violence and terror. Here in the greatest country on earth, we are witnessing unprecedented levels of gun violence and inaction is no longer an option.
In the last year we witnessed three deadly mass shootings that were each carried out with a military style assault weapon. Yet across the county, millions of guns are sold by private, unlicensed dealers online and at gun shows without a single background check conducted.
On an average day, 96 Americans are killed with firearms, and for every one person killed with a gun, two more are injured. In an average month, 50 women in the US are shot to death by their partners.
Despite the overwhelming public support for gun control, an NRA and gun lobby-backed bill effectively blocks federally funded gun violence research that could help us save lives in the future.
The call for stronger gun regulations has never been louder. In February 2018, a poll found that 67 percent of Americans were in favor of a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, and 97 percent of gun owners were in support of universal background checks.
But the Republican-backed NRA continues to spend millions of dollars on misleading attacks to convince us and our lawmakers that gun control is a threat to our constitutional right. In 2017, the NRA spent over $4 million dollars lobbying against commonsense gun regulations.
Let me be clear: it’s possible to enact commonsense gun control that keeps our families and communities safe while also protecting the constitutional rights of gun owners. I know this because it’s what we have done in California. In the State Senate I sponsored multiple bills designed to keep Californians safe. And under my leadership we eventually passed legislation to expand the 1989 assault weapons ban, prevent possession of many high-capacity magazines, better regulate ammunition sales, and improve the reporting of stolen firearms.
Too many families have been torn apart and continue to suffer because of gun violence, and it’s time to take a stand. That’s why I have introduced a comprehensive gun-control plan that includes:
An assault weapons ban on the manufacturing of future assault weapons, and stricter oversight and regulations on current assault weapons.
Expanded background checks on more gun sales to include private unlicensed dealers at gun shows and internet sales, a stronger background check system to get rid of the “Charleston Loophole,” and background checks on purchasers of ammunition.
Closing the domestic violence loophole to prevent convicted domestic abusers and stalkers from buying and owning guns.
Harsher gun trafficking penalties to target “straw purchasers” make interstate gun trafficking a serious crime.
Funding for gun violence research to better understand the causes and impacts of gun violence on our communities.
Funding for Community Programs in urban areas that are most impacted by gun violence.
We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to enact common-sense gun control that will lead to a brighter and safer future. My plan will keep weapons of war off of our streets, ensure that a gun never ends up in the wrong hands, stop the spread of dangerous weapons, and secure funding for programs that can help us better understand the gun violence epidemic and save lives in communities across the country.