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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 4, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 45
We must end gun violence
Section One
ALL STORIES
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We must end gun violence

by Congressman Adam Smith
Washington State's 9th District
Special to the SGN

The tragic events at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in last June demonstrated again that our national firearms laws are lacking and allow deadly weapons to be too easily obtained by dangerous people. Following this latest mass shooting, I joined 170 of my Democratic colleagues on the floor of the House of Representatives to protest the reprehensible lack of any action to prevent gun violence by the Republican Majority. An assault weapons ban and multiple other common-sense bills await action in Congress; and I will continue to fight for legislation that will protect our communities for as long as I represent the 9th District in Congress.

I am a supporter of stronger firearms laws and regulations. In Washington state, we've made important steps to protect people from gun violence. In 2014, I was an early endorser and strong supporter of I-594, which successfully mandated universal background checks for firearm purchases. This year, I was an early endorser and strong supporter of I-1491, which allows law enforcement or family members to ask a court to remove firearms from people who may be a danger to themselves or others.

Passing these initiatives in Washington state will help to save lives here, but there is much more that needs to be done nationally. I will continue to work every day in the House of Representatives to protect the whole of our country with the same common-sense policies we're enacting in our state.

At the federal level, I am pushing for legislation to strengthen background checks, close loopholes for gun shows, and stop straw purchasers and online sales. We must take mental health issues more seriously and better treat those who are affected by them. We must ensure intimate partner and family violence victims are protected from future harm. We must be allowed to lift restrictions on the study of gun violence as the public health epidemic that it is.

I also believe that military-style assault weapons have no place in civilian hands. A ban on these firearms is an important step to help eliminate gun violence. As the top-ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, I focus a great deal on military equipment and weapons, and have a sound understanding of these arms' purpose and capabilities. The destructive qualities that make them useful tools in war also can make them absolutely devastating in American towns and cities.

In Congress, I will continue to advocate for sensible and effective firearms laws. We have an opportunity to save lives and prevent the devastation to communities, families, and individuals that results from the gun violence we have experienced throughout our nation.

Adam Smith (D) represents Washington's 9th District in Congress. He is the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee.

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