Over the last 25 years, I’ve met too many people all across Colorado who have lost loved ones to gun violence. My family joined that grim list in 2015.
We’re not alone. Gun violence claims the lives of more than 100 Americans each day, most by suicide. Gun violence is now the second leading cause of death among children—giving the U.S. the highest known rate in the world.
We’re making some progress in Colorado. In 2019 the state authorized judges to issue extreme risk protection orders in order to keep weapons from individuals who pose a significant danger to themselves or others.
Such “red flag” laws reduce death tolls and comport with the Constitution. My colleagues and I at Mental Health Colorado teamed up with law-enforcement leaders and gun-safety advocates to advance this proposal.
No such progress seems possible in Washington. Despite the daily drumbeat of gun violence, the gun lobby continues to block even modest reforms.
Enough is enough. We can and must take common-sense steps to save lives.
- Require background checks and waiting periods on all gun sales.
- Strengthen the enforcement of existing gun laws, including the ban on straw purchases and bump stocks.
- Equip the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with the resources it needs to carry out its proper mission.
- Impose an effective ban on the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
- Limit bulk gun purchases.
- Fund federal research on gun violence prevention.
- Extend the prohibition on gun sales to abusive partners and those convicted of stalking offenses.
- End legal immunity for the gun industry.
- Promote safe-storage requirements.
- Fund local, evidence-based strategies to prevent gun violence.