Gun deaths are now the leading cause of death for our children, both in the classroom and our neighborhoods. We need comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation that not only prevents mass shootings, but also reduces gun homicides and suicides. In reality, gun suicides make up over half of all gun deaths - nearly 24,000 people every year.
UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS
Under current federal law, background checks are required whenever someone attempts to buy a gun from a licensed dealer. This law should apply to all sales made online and gun shows as well. Additionally, for this legislation to work effectively, the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) must be fully funded. Under current legislation, if the NICS system cannot complete the background check and reach a verdict in three days, the firearm is allowed to be sold. We need to hire additional FBI examiners and additional staff to process these checks in a complete and thorough manner.
ALERT LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OF FAILED BACKGROUND CHECK
It is against the law to try to purchase a gun when you are prohibited from purchasing one. While NICS does stop hundreds of thousands of sales every year, lying and trying to purchase a firearm is rarely prosecuted. Local law enforcement rarely knows when a potentially dangerous person attempts to buy a gun.
THREAT IDENTIFICATION AND ASSESSMENT PROGRAMS IN SCHOOLS
Schools need the training to be able to intervene before a student commits an act of violence. Threat identification and assessment programs would allow multidisciplinary teams to intervene and divert students who harm themselves or others and give them the help they require. The Comprehensive Student Threat Assessment Guidelines (CSTAG)
is a good model to follow. We not only need the federal resources to fund these programs, but also competent and trustworthy school administrators to implement them so that this responsibility does not fall solely on teachers’ shoulders.
VIOLENCE INTERRUPTER PROGRAMS
Violence interruption programs have been proven to work when implemented properly. They give community-informed and comprehensive support to individuals who are at greatest risk of committing gun violence or being a victim of gun violence. These programs, like the ones used in Stockton, have been shown to reduce gunshot wounds and deaths in neighborhoods that are most impacted by gun violence.
EXTREME RISK or RED FLAG LAWS
Suicide is the leading cause behind gun deaths. Red flag laws would allow immediate family members and law enforcement to petition a court for an order to temporarily remove guns from dangerous situations.
No one needs an assault weapon to hunt. They’re designed to massacre people. When we did have an assault weapons ban from 1994-2004, mass shootings dropped nearly by half. After it expired, the number of mass shootings exploded.