One of my worst moments in the U.S. Senate was when Congress refused to pass a single bill to address gun violence after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Every child has a God-given right to be safe. It is our job -- our deepest responsibility as a people -- to make this happen. And yet Congress is failing -- and in Parkland, in Santa Fe, and across the country, children are paying the price.
Over and over again we hear about tragic crimes of gun violence: at a concert, a church, a nightclub, a high school, a street corner. These mass shootings are devastating. So is the gun violence that happens in our communities each and every day.
It's especially heartbreaking to see the impact on our children. Seven children and teenagers are killed each day by guns, their lives senselessly cut short. This is an outrage. If seven children were dying every day from a mysterious virus, our country would pull out all the stops to find a cure. Gun violence is an epidemic, an epidemic that kills children in schools, on playgrounds, and in our neighborhoods. An epidemic we can stop.
Americans agree that Congress should act to stop this epidemic, but the powerful gun lobby has led a campaign to stop sensible laws to curb gun violence. We must fight back against the stranglehold the gun lobby has over Congress, and we must pass sensible laws that make our neighborhoods safer for our children. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need action. I will work my heart out until we put a stop to the epidemic of gun violence in America.
Taking the most dangerous weapons of war off our streets
I grew up around guns and gun owners. I know that law-abiding citizens have a constitutional right to own and collect guns, and that many use them safely for sport and protection. I also know that there's a big difference between a handgun stored safely in one's home and a Rambo-style assault weapon that can kill dozens in a matter of seconds. Weapons of war should not be allowed to flood our communities.
It's time to stand up to the National Rifle Association and its bought-and-paid-for Congressmen and pass sensible laws that keep weapons of war out of our communities. We need to ban large-capacity ammunition feeding devices that allow assailants to maximize their damage and restore common-sense measures to take killing machines like assault weapons off our streets entirely.
Far too often, Americans lose their lives when our current background check system fails to prevent someone who shouldn't have a gun from getting one. It's simple: If we want to stop dangerous weapons from falling into the wrong hands, we need to improve and expand our system of background checks. Overwhelming majorities of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- agree. It's time for Congress to finally take action and pass a universal background checks bill.
Fighting gun trafficking
Gun laws vary from state to state, which makes it easy for someone to purchase a gun in a state with weak laws and take it to a state with stronger laws. These loopholes make it possible for guns to get in the hands of people who should be banned from getting them. We must close those dangerous loopholes and impose tougher penalties on gun traffickers who exploit them to line their pockets, placing our communities at risk.