What is the problem?
In the ten years between 2009 and 2018, 1,121 people were shot and killed in the United States in a mass shooting, and 836 more were shot and wounded. The reach of each mass shooting stretches far beyond those killed and wounded, harming the well-being of survivors, their families, and entire communities.
Mass shootings do not need to be an inevitable element of American life. Just like all other tragic forms of gun violence, we can prevent them through common-sense policy solutions.
What are the solutions?
Background Checks on All Gun Sales
Background checks are the foundation of any comprehensive gun violence prevention strategy. Current federal law requires that background checks be conducted whenever a person attempts to buy a gun from a licensed gun dealer. This is to ensure that the buyer is not legally prohibited from having the gun.
Extreme Risk Laws
When a person is in crisis and considering harming themselves or others, family members and law enforcement are often the first people to see the warning signs. Extreme Risk laws, sometimes referred to as “Red Flag” laws, allow loved ones or law enforcement to intervene by petitioning a court for an order to temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing guns.
Prohibit People With Dangerous Histories From Having Guns
People with dangerous histories must be prohibited from having guns. Federal law prohibits gun possession by certain categories of people. States also set standards for who is too dangerous to have guns. People prohibited by federal or state law will fail a background check if they try to buy a gun from a licensed dealer.
Prohibit Assault Weapons
Assault weapons are exceptionally deadly firearms commonplace in mass shootings. They are generally capable of firing far more bullets, far faster than manual-action hunting rifles. Prohibiting assault weapons can prevent mass shooting injuries and deaths.
Prohibit High-Capacity Magazines
Firearms equipped with high-capacity magazines make instances of violence exceptionally deadly. High-capacity ammunition magazines, commonly defined as those capable of holding more than 10-rounds, are a threat to public safety and should be prohibited.
Prohibit Bump Stocks and Other Conversion Devices
Machine guns have been tightly regulated under federal law since the 1930s, but bump stocks and other conversion devices are designed to skirt the law and mimic automatic gunfire. Guns equipped with bump stocks were used in the largest and deadliest mass shooting in modern American history in 2017 in Las Vegas, in which 58 people were shot and killed and hundreds more were wounded.
Block Silencer Deregulation
Silencers pose a significant danger in the wrong hands. They make it harder for bystanders or law enforcement to identify and react quickly to gunshots. Efforts to deregulate silencers should be blocked.
Guns and hate are a fatal combination. In an average year, more than 10,300 hate crimes in the United States involve a firearm—more than 28 each day. In most of the US, some people convicted of hate crimes can still legally buy and have guns. Congress and state legislatures should pass laws that keep guns out of the hands of those who have been convicted of hate crimes.
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