“My father is a collector of guns and a hunter, still at 83 years of age. Accordingly, I appreciate the role of responsible gun ownership in our Georgia identity. While Mayor and Public Safety Director of Columbus, Georgia, our crime rate fell dramatically, yet, we – like too many communities – struggled with gun violence. In fact, almost every murder experienced in Columbus, Georgia was a result of gun violence. It’s not just the horrific mass shootings that are occurring with alarming regularity throughout the country.
While it is true that this country honors the Second Amendment, it is also true that the Supreme Court has held that federal and state legislatures can pass gun safety laws. The constitutional right to bear arms cannot infringe on the fundamental right of others to be free of terror and violence.
Weapons of war do not belong on our streets. I have never heard anyone seriously contend that all gun ownership should be banned, so we need to stop chasing that red herring and get down to the business of 1) including responsible gun owners in the formulation of effective gun legislation; 2) keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and 3) giving law enforcement officers a fighting chance to keep our streets safe.
People have had enough of Washington’s inaction on this issue. Even corporations around the country are calling for leadership on the issue of reasonable gun laws to protect their customers and business space from murderous violence. Shouldn’t churches, schools and public squares be safe, too? There is a commonsense balance that we can strike to reduce gun violence – with the right leadership. As your next Senator, I intend to ‘do something’.”
— Teresa Tomlinson
AS THE NEXT UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM GEORGIA, I will support federal legislation designed to reduce and prevent gun violence and save lives, and, yet respect the rights of law abiding, responsible gun owners. While we may not eliminate all gun violence, these three policies have broad consensus and have been proven to save lives.
These should be acted upon immediately—and there are current legislative proposals that should be expedited by Congress and sent to the President for signature without delay:
- Background Checks on All Gun Sales: Establish universal background checks requiring purchasers to pass a background check before acquiring a firearm from any seller, unless the weapon is a gift from a close family member. This must include sales at gun shows and private gun sales. (HR 8 is currently pending Senate consideration.)
- Extreme Risk Protection Orders (or “red flag” laws): Gives families and law enforcement the ability to temporarily limit a person’s access to firearms when they are shown to pose an extreme risk to themselves or others. (HR 3076, sponsored by Georgia’s own Congresswoman Lucy McBath, is pending House action.)
- Assault Weapons Ban: Permanently ban the sale or transfer of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines. This ban would include mass carnage accessories like Triggercranks or bump stocks and would be coupled with a public/private partnership sponsored voluntary buyback initiatives.
In addition, I support legislation to accomplish the following objectives:
- Closing the Charleston Loophole: End the 3-day default on background checks for the transfer of a gun so that no gun may be transferred without a completed FBI background check. Fund FBI resources so that background checks can be completed in a timely manner.
- Closing the “Boyfriend Loophole”: Current law prohibits spouses convicted of a felony or misdemeanor domestic assault from legally obtaining guns, yet there is a glaring loophole at the federal level and in many states that allows assaultive partners in certain relationships short of marriage to obtain guns legally. The House has amended the Violence Against Women Act to close this loophole. The Senate should pass this legislation immediately.
- No Fly, No Buy: Block suspected terrorists who are on federal “no fly” lists from purchasing guns. Known terrorists have no right to access such weapons.
- Mental Health Restrictions and Screening: Impose federal restrictions on gun ownership by individuals who suffer from serious mental health conditions and who pose a threat to themselves or others, and increase funding for the treatment of mental illness as a disease, and not as a crime, so that the condition does not escalate to the point of harm.
- Responsible Gun Owner Requirement: All new transfers require gun owners be licensed and permitted.
- Lift Limitations on ATF/Law Enforcement: The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and other law enforcement agencies should be allowed to collect and organize searchable data regarding guns sales, offenders and other such information to assist in identifying abuses, preventing gun trafficking and solving crime.
- Repeal Bad Law: Repeal the so-called “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” which grants immunity to the gun manufacturers who profit from the production of negligently created or inherently dangerous weapons.
- Domestic Terrorism Prevention: Provide funding for federal law enforcement agencies to combat domestic terrorism and restrict gun ownership by people convicted of terrorism or hate crimes.
- Gun Violence and Public Safety: Provide funding to the Centers for Disease Control, the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Resources for the study of gun violence as a public safety issue and provide funding for evidence-based gun violence intervention programs.