hOOSIER cOMMON SENSE ON GUNS
We are suffering from an epidemic of gun violence in America, that is unlike any other modernized country on earth. Around 100 people are killed every day in our country. There have been nearly 300 school shootings in the U.S. since 2013. This is unacceptable. We have to make stemming this tide a top priority.
I grew up in a house with guns, and I respect Second Amendment rights and the important role that guns play in the lives of many Hoosiers.
I'm also a mom, and my top priority is to make sure our kids are safe. We should be able to come together on commonsense rules that will prevent another mass shooting. We can respect both our Second Amendment rights and our inalienable rights to life and liberty, as well.
Powerful lobbies want us to think that there is no common ground. That could not be further from the truth. We agree on a lot. Around 90 percent of Americans support background checks for all gun sales. And that includes 74 percent of NRA members! The current federal background check law only covers sales through licensed gun deals. We must close the loophole that allows parties to conduct private sales without a background check.
We should immediately revoke the 20-year ban on the Centers for Disease Control researching gun violence. The CDC could learn more about mental health issues and other warning signs that an individual may be dangerous, and how best to counter that danger. Research will help us find solutions that work, and avoid costly mistakes. Bipartisan support for this measure is growing in wake of the tragedy in Parkland, Florida.
I oppose the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act pending in Congress, which would require states to recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states. This is an attack on states' rights to protect their citizens, and it allows people from out of state to evade state background check laws.
It is well-established that domestic abusers with guns are a deadly threat to their intimate partners. Two thirds of women killed with guns were killed by their intimate partners. Federal law protects spouses but does not protect non-married partners. We need to change the law to protect them as well. There is overwhelming popular support for such a measure.
I also support restrictions on assault weapons, and I would support a reinstatement of a federal assault weapons ban, which Congress allowed to lapse in 2004. These are military weapons that are designed to kill people. More and more responsible gun owners are coming forward and recognizing that our children are more important. An assault weapons ban would not and should not affect weapons that people use for hunting. And it will make our police safer as well.
Last, there is agreement that some mental illnesses should be a disqualifying factor for gun ownership. I favor provisions that would allow the federal government to add people with such documented illness to the universal background check registry. Congress revoked this rule in 2017. We certainly should have a rule that restricts gun ownership for individuals who are a threat to themselves and others. But mental illness in general is not a good predictor of violent behavior, so we should ensure that only people with a tendency towards violence are added to the background check registry, with appropriate due process protections. Last, far too many people with mental illness go untreated because of the lack of funding for mental health treatment. We must ensure that every person suffering from mental illness is able to get the help they need.