America is facing an epidemic of gun violence that is tragically all too familiar to us in Colorado. We have lost too many of our friends, neighbors, and children to guns, which has resulted in 39,000 lives lost nationwide in just one year. Over the past decade, more than 1.2 million Americans have been shot and millions more traumatized by gun violence, which has disproportionately impacted communities of color. Each day, 21 more children are victims of gun violence.
The loss of precious lives is incomprehensible, devastating, and deeply etched in our hearts and memories in places such as Columbine, Arapahoe, Platte Canyon, STEM School Highlands Ranch, Aurora, and in schools and communities across our state and nation.
For too long, the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) leadership has recklessly fought even the most basic gun safety measures, such as universal background checks, which 90% of Americans and a majority of the NRA’s own members support.
When I was Governor of Colorado, we took on the NRA leadership and won. It wasn’t easy, but with the support of local and state elected officials and a diverse coalition of Coloradans, we were able to enact legislation requiring background checks for all gun sales, as well as a ban on large-capacity magazines. We became the first purple state to enact comprehensive gun safety legislation. If we could beat the NRA in Colorado, we can beat them nationally.
Senator Gardner has received nearly $4 million in support from the NRA and is standing in the way of allowing background checks — among other reforms — to receive a hearing in the United States Senate. He has also voted against closing loopholes that allow guns to fall into dangerous hands. Enough is enough.
As your next Senator, I will fight for comprehensive, common-sense policies to tackle gun violence.
A National Agenda: Common-Sense Gun Safety Policies
- Ensure background checks for all gun sales
Background checks save lives. Since the 1990s, the background check system has blocked the sale of more than 3 million guns to criminals, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people. We need to expand background checks to cover gun shows and online retailers, as well as close the “Charleston Loophole” to ensure that all background checks are properly completed.
- Establish national magazine limits
Magazine limits save lives during shootings. The shooter who killed 12 and wounded 59 at an Aurora movie theater in 2012 was carrying a gun equipped with a 100-round magazine. The shooter in Tucson, Arizona, who killed six and wounded 13 — including former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in 2011 — was carrying a handgun equipped with a 33-round magazine. That shooting came to an end when he was tackled by a bystander while he tried to reload his gun.
- Restore an assault weapons ban
It’s time for Congress to enact an effective assault weapons ban that builds on the previous legislation that expired in 2004.
- Fund community-based violence intervention
Communities of color in Colorado and our nation have to deal with gun violence on a daily basis and face a considerably higher risk of being a victim of gun homicide. Funding evidence-based violence-intervention programs has been shown to be effective at reducing shootings in cities across the country.
- Strengthen enforcement against gun trafficking
We must stop gun trafficking by strengthening prosecution of the small number of “bad actor” gun dealers who illegally sell guns without a background check. Law enforcement also needs the tools to treat straw purchases (where criminals who can’t pass a background check have someone purchase weapons on their behalf) as serious offenses.
- Stop the proliferation of “ghost guns”
Ghost guns are firearms that can be assembled at home with parts that have been ordered online or produced by a 3D printer. They are available without a background check, cannot be traced by law enforcement, and are an emerging issue in Colorado and across the country. We must pass a federal law ensuring that no one can construct a firearm without first going through a background check.
- Hold reckless gun manufacturers responsible
We need to repeal the 2005 law that uniquely shields irresponsible gun manufacturers from lawsuits and puts them in the same category as every other business.
- Implement Extreme Risk Order Protection laws
In order to prevent future acts of violence, Extreme Risk Order Protection laws let families and law enforcement temporarily remove an individual’s access to firearms when judged to be a danger to themselves or others. These policies are effective at both preventing mass shootings and reducing suicide.
- Create a safer future for our children and communities
While the NRA leadership has embarked on a relentless effort to mislead, mischaracterize, and deceive, we know in Colorado that we can protect our Second Amendment rights AND protect our children and communities with reasonable gun safety policies.