During the last 24 hours, many have spoken out on the violent shooting that left 17 dead. For me, I have used this time for deep reflection and soul searching. I have not been ready to issue a statement because like many of you, I’ve grown weary of the inaction we have seen after our communities witness horrific events, like what has taken place in Parkland, Florida this week. Although I think offering condolences and prayers for the victims and their families is appropriate, I keep asking myself what I would expect from my elected leaders if that was one of my children or grandchildren killed?
As a supporter and protector of the Second Amendment, I call on my friends and associates to show leadership and to not retreat. We understand firearms and are the most qualified to bring answers forward. We can and must provide solutions that both honor Second Amendment rights and protect our neighborhoods and schools.
We need to start somewhere. I mean really start.
We are sad, hurt, angry and frustrated. So, let’s use this as our motivation to focus in on solutions. Not just feel good solutions, but real answers that truly address the problem. To me, that means looking at mental illness, school security, warning signs, and, yes, even who can access firearms.
Below I’ve outlined four steps that I have and will continue to support immediately:
- We must properly enforce gun laws and regulations currently on the books—every single time. Additionally, the Senate should follow our lead in the House and pass the Fix NICS Act, which, with my support, passed the House on December 6, 2017. This important legislation enforces current background check laws by applying penalties to government agencies for not reporting information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
- We must outlaw any other device that converts a legal weapon into an illegal weapon.
- Congress must pass legislation that provides further resources to help law enforcement, teachers, and administrators identify warning signs. For this purpose, I have cosponsored H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act of 2018. This legislation reauthorizes a grant program for school security and specifically focuses on training schools and communities to identify warning signs and to intervene before a shooting takes place.
- We need to take a comprehensive look at school security and we must dedicate more resources to protect our schools with the same level of commitment that we use to protect our celebrities, elected officials, and airports.
Let there be no doubt – I’m an advocate for American’s constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms. I’ve spent much of my professional life helping law enforcement through building training facilities, and I’ve even lectured for the NRA. I’m a gun owner and I would never give that gun up. But that said, it’s time for Congress to find our voice and do the right thing.