Gun Violence Prevention
Throughout my over 20 years serving in our military, I have received a range of training that focused on responding to scenarios involving armed assailants. I remember spending a hot summer at Fort Jackson before deploying to Iraq, where we learned to remain calm and respond to what we might face.
That training was all I could think of when I spoke with a local kindergarten teacher and was horrified to hear her describe in vivid detail the plan and training she and her fellow teachers had undergone in the terrifying event that a shooter steps foot on her school’s campus: Lockdown alarms sounding, teachers rushing to classroom doors to check for stray children before blockading them shut, children urged to quietly get out of the line of sight and hide behind tables and counters as their teachers seek to calm them, while themselves preparing to use their training to disarm a potential shooter.
It is heartbreaking and enraging to think 5-year-olds at our Central New York elementary schools and children all over the country live in a world where they must prepare and train for an armed assailant situation similar to our soldiers at Fort Jackson. Our children no longer need our thoughts and prayers. They need and demand our action.
There are many common sense solutions on which the majority of both parties agree, yet a broken Washington has been unable to achieve anything substantial — largely due to a group of politicians bought and paid for by the corporate gun lobby who stand in opposition to any real proposal to prevent gun violence. It’s long past time for action and our children deserve better.
We need to strengthen gun safety laws and prevent dangerous people from purchasing guns. This starts with criminal background checks on all gun sales, a measure that 97% of Americans support. House Resolution 8, a bipartisan bill for universal background checks, passed the House, yet Mitch McConnell continues to block a vote on it. This is shameful.
We must stop restricting funding for research on gun violence, but instead start specifically directing resources to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for evidence-based research on how best to reduce the gun violence epidemic in our country.
We also need to close the loophole that allows those on the No-Fly List, due to suspicions linked to terrorism, to still purchase a gun.
I’ve spent my career serving our country in the military. I have trained with all types of guns, from assault rifles like the M16 and M4, to heavy machine guns like the M2 50 Caliber Browning. These weapons are designed for the sole purpose of military combat. Yet high-capacity magazines and assault rifles like the AR-15 that are based on these military weapons have been used in too many of our nation’s deadliest mass shootings, tragically unleashing carnage in our movie theaters, churches, supermarkets and schools. That is why it is time to reinstate a federal assault weapons ban as well as a high-capacity magazine ban, because these weapons of war have absolutely no business in our communities.
These ideas are common sense solutions that leaders on both sides have gotten behind, but remain trapped in political gridlock due to politicians doing the bidding of corporate gun lobby groups, including our own Congressman, John Katko. Year after year, the NRA gives Katko an “A” rating and has contributed nearly $12,000 to his campaigns. Enough is enough.
There is no way to put into words the feeling of returning home to America after a deployment in a place like Iraq — the feeling of returning to the safety and security of home and being surrounded by loved ones. Unfortunately, the gun violence epidemic in our country today is robbing our children, parents, teachers and neighbors of that feeling of safety and security. For too many, it’s robbed them of their loved ones as well. We cannot sit idly by and accept this any longer. A safer America is possible, but it requires action, and if I’m honored to serve as your representative, I will work with both parties to fight for what’s right and take action for stronger gun safety laws. Our children and teachers should never have to go through the similar training and precautions that I undertook in Iraq just to attend school.
- Pass universal criminal background checks on all gun sales, a measure that 97% of Americans support
- Protect and expand funding for the Center for Disease Control to research more effective ways to curb gun violence in the country
- Close the loophole that allows those on the No-Fly List, due to suspicions linked to terrorism, to still purchase a gun legally
- Reinstitute a federal assault weapons ban because these weapons of war have absolutely no business in our communities
- Pass red flag laws that will keep guns out of the hands of those who will do harm to others, including domestic abusers and individuals who might harm themselves