Gun Violence Prevention
Gun violence is an epidemic in our country and recent events have demonstrated the gun violence epidemic is in fact a national emergency. In recent years, we have all seen the tragic violence that domestic terrorists can inflict with assault rifles and demented ideology, be it anarchy or white supremacy. Policies need to focus on the disproportionate impact of gun violence on communities of color – Black men are over 10 times as likely and Hispanic men are over 3 times as likely to be gun homicide victims than white men. Here in the 3rd District, we are also exposed on a weekly basis to the less publicized displays of gun violence on our city streets.
I believe that federal legislation regulating the purchase of firearms does not infringe on the rights afforded by the Second Amendment. Legislation I am proposing does not stop an individual from purchasing a firearm. Rather, these proposals are focused on three primary goals:
1. Creating harsher federal sentences for those who buy and sell illegal guns
Rush believes that those who profit from and exploit the straw purchasing loopholes in various states, as well as those criminals stockpile weapons by acquiring guns illegally from these straw purchasers, are the biggest contributors to the endless gun violence in Chicagoland and other urban areas.
Rush has proposed “Sell for Life” legislation, which would ensure that straw purchasers and anyone else who sells guns illegally would be charged with a federal crime with a life sentence. Illegal gun sales contribute to thousands of deaths across the country each year and should be treated the same way as the crime of first-degree murder. Representative Robin Kelly’s H.B 6441, making all straw purchases of firearms a federal crime, is a good first step on this front and should be passed by Congress immediately.
2. Taking assault rifles, high capacity magazine clips, and other weapons of war completely off our streets
The use of assault rifles in mass killings across the country has allowed domestic terrorists to rack up tragically high body counts in a short period of time. Assault rifles and high capacity magazine clips are weapons of war and should be treated as such.
Rush believes Congress should immediately pass a national ban on the importation and sale of all assault rifles and high capacity magazine clips. These weapons should only be utilized by our Armed forces and at certain times by local law enforcement.
3. Implementing the most thorough and transparent set of federal background checks for those wishing to purchase a firearm
Unfortunately, the number of white nationalist groups in the United States, those particularly electrified by Trump’s presidency, surged by almost 50 percent in 2018. Recent events have demonstrated that inhabitants of the dark web attracted to radical ideologies like anarchy and white nationalism should not be allowed to purchase firearms, and a federal database that takes this into account in its background checks may very well stop the next mass shooting. Homeland Security should be investing the resources and the manpower to address this rising white nationalist threat that threatens the safety of all Americans.
We are living in a data-rich age and private companies often know more about our internet search history and consumer habits than we do ourselves. There is no reason big data can’t work towards developing a national background check database that would be a required screening step before any American purchases a firearm.