01 Apr March for Our Lives and Gun Reform
The March for Our Lives was so inspiring and energizing – seeing and hearing all those young people speaking out so eloquently and passionately about the need to reform our laws related to gun ownership gave me hope that we have turned a corner and that real, effective change is on the way. The participation by adults, lending their presence and their voices to those of the young people and exercising their First Amendment rights was democracy in action. We sent a clear message to anyone who saw the pictures of the crowds, estimated by some to be 20,000+ strong in Phoenix alone. That message is – the source of the problem must be addressed. Yes, we need more mental health counselors and access to treatment. Yes, we need to take measures to secure our schools and other public places without making our entire environment into a large maximum-security prison. The recommendation, however, to arm teachers as a solution is dangerous and inappropriate. As a teacher, I need to be able to do my job to teach, guide, and nurture students, not be personal body guards for them. Instead, I recommend that we approach this issue in the way that we have addressed other public health issues, by research and prevention. I support allowing and funding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as non-partisan, government funded, and highly respected health research institution to study the root causes of gun violence in our country. I support learning from other industrialized and developed nations about how to reduce gun violence and enact gun reform. We may need to adapt their strategies for our society, but we don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel. Within our own country, we can use the model for obtaining a driver’s license to reform the requirements for gun purchase and ownership. Require a passing score on a test, perform a demonstration of basic driving skills, and once licensed, follow the rules of the road and other laws related to driving. The cars themselves must be registered and the registration renewed periodically. All these same approaches can be applied to the promotion of safe and competent gun ownership. In addition, there should be universal background checks at all points of purchase and full enforcement of existing gun laws. The information technology system must be upgraded and fully operational to support fast and accurate data about prospective gun purchases and current licensed owners. This technology should also connect local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies so that information about potentially dangerous situations can be quickly shared and used to stop shootings. I support a ban on the sale of assault rifles and other weapons of war to the public. The US Supreme Court was very clear that the Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to own these types of weapons. The turnout for the March for Our Lives and the messages showed that the public is resolved that reform of gun laws is something that must be done and that will be done. I will be a legislator who will take a common sense, leadership position on gun reform and responsible gun ownership as the best ways to keep our children and the rest of the public safe.