Gun Violence Prevention

The students of Parkland, Florida have been a true inspiration. For too long, the NRA and its allies have dominated Washington politics - peddling their influence through threats of primary challengers for those who do not remain “pure” by opposing every single common-sense effort to reduce gun violence in America.

In the Granite State, we have a culture of responsible gun ownership. I grew up in Epping and for some of my friends’ families, venison was an important staple to get them through the winter.  

But there are many steps Congress can take to help reduce the amount of gun violence in our country. No one law will stop all of the violence, but Congress has a moral obligation to take what steps it can in order to lessen the bloodshed. Inaction is unconscionable and the current lack of positive action must not be allowed to continue.

In Congress, I will fight to implement those common-sense proposals. I commit to joining the Gun Violence Taskforce on day one. All gun purchases, except for gifts between immediate family members, should require a background check. We must stop the gun show loophole. Additionally, the national background check system should be strengthened, and include all relevant information from those who report to it. Right now it’s like saying only 1 in 4 people need to go through TSA at an airport. Lastly, law enforcement most have the ability to take firearms away from those who have shown they might be a danger to themselves and others.

It is frightening and appalling that our schools have become targets. The best way to create safe schools is through prevention. In many cases, the children or teens who feel the need to bring guns to school are themselves the victims of bullying, harassment, and discrimination, or have mental health issues. If schools worked to shut down hateful behavior or gave students the mental health support they need, that could help prevent violence. There should also be an organized effort to get reports from teachers or students who notice students who threaten violence to others, or are obsessed by guns and shootings. This on-the-ground effort can actually be more effective than an FBI tipline. Students expelled from school for bringing guns to school or making threats should get the help they clearly need, and not just be left to plot revenge. Schools also need to make their exterior walls, doors, and windows more difficult for a shooter to break through.

As I stated above, we cannot fix this problem with legislation alone. But these proposals, along with the grit and determination showed by students around the country, will make a world of difference.

Naomi Andrews