This week marks 1 month since the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school. Since then, over 2,800 Americans have been shot and killed and many more injured. The public wants action, and the plan the President unveiled yesterday doesn't come close to meeting the moment.
Here's what Congress should do:
1) Close the private sale loophole. Under federal law, background checks are only required by licensed dealers. This loophole is easy to exploit, and makes it easy for convicted felons or domestic abusers to get guns with no background check.
2) Enact a federal Red Flag law. This policy, passed by Florida last week, lets families and police petition judges to temporarily block a person from having guns if they pose a danger to themselves or others.
3) Prohibit bump stocks. The president ordered the DOJ to propose regulations that ban bump stocks like those used by the shooter in the Las Vegas mass shooting. Congress should act immediately to prohibit bump stocks by passing legislation that covers all conversion devices.
4) Empower law enforcement when criminals try to buy guns. Bipartisan legislation -- H.R. 4471 and S. 2492 -- would ensure that state law enforcement officials are alerted when criminals break the law and try to buy guns.
5) Disarm domestic abusers by closing the “boyfriend loophole.” This federal loophole lets abusive boyfriends to buy and possess firearms, even if they have a misdemeanor conviction or are subject to a final restraining order, simply because they are not married to their victim.
6) Close the “Charleston loophole.” Due to an @NRA-backed provision added to the Brady Bill, gun sales may proceed after 3 business days — even if background check operators have not confirmed the buyer is legally allowed to have guns. Congress must close this loophole.
7) Prohibit sale of high-capacity magazines, which played a significant role in some of our country's deadliest mass shootings, including Las Vegas, Orlando, Aurora, Sutherland Springs, Fort Hood, San Bernardino and Newtown. Congress must act to prohibit them from being sold.
8) Raise minimum age to 21 for the purchase of semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. Eighteen to 20-year-olds commit gun homicides at a rate nearly four times higher than adults 21 and older. Congress should act now to block the sale of semi-automatic long guns to people under 21.
9) Prohibit the sale of assault weapons. Assault-style rifles have been used in the five deadliest mass shootings of the past decade — three of which happened in the past five months. Congress should take action to prohibit the sale of the most dangerous semi-automatic firearms.
What Congress should NOT do:
1) Congress must not push “concealed carry reciprocity,” the NRA’s number one priority. This legislation undermines state gun laws and makes it easy for people with dangerous histories and no training to carry hidden, loaded guns in public.
2) Congress must not push legislation that would put guns in our classrooms. In recent years, the gun lobby has pushed legislation across the country that would arm teachers and allow civilians to carry guns into our elementary, middle and high schools.
You can follow @shannonrwatts.
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