As a former federal law enforcement officer, I used to carry a gun every day. I am comfortable with firearms, and I support responsible gun ownership. Nevertheless, the stark reality is that thousands of Americans die each year due to violence, suicide, or accidents involving firearms, and our lawmakers’ unwillingness to address this problem leaves our citizens and our children vulnerable.
Addressing gun violence and protecting lives should not be a political issue; it is a public safety issue. Currently, the CDC is legally forbidden from researching gun violence. I support lifting this ban so that Congress and states can propose policy based on evidence and research. I stand with the Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, and 94% of Americans in supporting background checks for all firearm purchases, regardless of where or from whom the purchases are made. States that require background checks for all purchases have fewer suicides by gun, fewer law enforcement officers shot and killed, and fewer women killed by an intimate partner. I also support common sense gun policy, such as a ban on bump stocks and the implementation of Extreme Risk Protective Order that would allow family, friends, and law enforcement to help people facing crisis who might be a risk to themselves or others.
There is no one policy initiative that will address all gun violence, but members of Congress need to have the courage to understand and fight to address this problem. I will be a part of any and all conversations across parties, with advocates, with gun owners, and with victims about how we, as a country, can make our communities safer.