It's time for common-sense solutions on guns

Vicki Jensen

In the wake of another senseless tragedy, it’s time for Washington to listen to the people — and not the special-interest lobbyists. Americans have repeatedly told Congress they support reasonable, common-sense solutions to help reduce gun violence. For example, currently all licensed gun dealers require a criminal background check when they sell a gun, but if you buy a gun from an unlicensed dealer, such as many of those at gun shows or who sell online, no criminal background check is required. This is an obvious loophole that must be closed.

Further, raising the legal age to purchase a firearm to 21, banning bump stocks and allowing close friends and family members to petition a judge to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms if they have evidence that the person poses a serious threat to themselves or others (otherwise known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders), have broad bipartisan support, are easy to implement and, collectively, would make a positive difference.

We need good societal investment in suicide prevention and crises responding systems. There will be guns, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn more about how to prevent violence and reduce the violent use of guns through a variety of things including public information, research, and safety training.

Let me be clear: I strongly support the Second Amendment. I have fond memories of heading to my grandma and grandpa’s house every year for our annual pheasant hunting trip. That is where I learned about responsible gun ownership and the important lesson that some people should not have guns. As my grandfather aged and it became apparent he was not safe with his 2nd amendment rights we made the decision as a family to not allow him access to firearms.

I have traveled all over our district, and most of the people I have talked with are like me: We have experience with firearms and recognize the responsibility required to use them safely. We firmly believe that it is possible to do more to reduce the bloodshed without infringing on the rights of responsible gun owners.

No one law will stop all gun violence, but there is more we can do to both reduce the risk of mass shootings and other types of gun crime. For example, domestic violence and easy access to guns often create a deadly combination for women and requires greater attention. Today, women in the US are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in developing countries. Similarly, abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that person has access to a firearm. This has to stop.

I am the only candidate in this race who has a track record on reducing gun violence. When I was in the Minnesota Senate, I wrote and passed into law a bill to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. I’ll bring that same common-sense approach to federal gun access reforms.

We need to act now to reduce the amount of violence in our nation, particularly when it seems to disproportionately impact women and children. Such action will require not merely a willingness to listen to people on both sides of the aisle, it will require Democrats and Republicans alike to put sound bytes aside and focus on real solutions.

We can no longer ignore the need to take action, and once elected to Congress, I am committed not merely to bringing the voices and experiences of Southern Minnesota with me to Washington on these very important issues, but to do the hard work necessary to bring results.