Because of my experience with guns, I have a deep appreciation of their connection to our identity and freedom as Americans.
I grew up around guns –everyone in my family had one – and we learned to use them properly. We were taught respect for guns and we knew that's how food was put on our table. I served in the United States Air Force and I was trained to use semi-automatic weapons by professionals. I know how to use them and I know how to respect them, but I believe that respect for firearms and common sense gun laws is what's missing from the conversation today.
60% of Gun Violence is Suicide.
- Over 1000 children annually die by gun suicide.
- On average, 11 U.S. Service Members die everyday from gun suicide.
- 86% of these suicides are male.
As a VA Administrator and I talked about the military suicide rate he told me "They have ready access to their firearms and are trained on how to use them. Of course their attempts will be successful." There are a variety of reasons our children and veterans attempt suicide - from poverty, unemployment, mental illness, and substance abuse - but the one connection throughout is clear - access to firearms.
Gun Violence is the 2nd leading cause of death for children.
- Children are particularly impacted by the intersection of domestic violence and gun violence.
- For children under age 13 who are victims of gun homicides, 85 percent of those deaths occur in the home, and nearly a third of those deaths are connected to intimate partner or family violence.
This isn't violence that happens to someone else. Odds are you are a victim, you have been a victim or you know victims of domestic violence. I was a child in a household of weapons and domestic abuse. My siblings and are I were lucky, but we can't leave our children's lives up to chance.
Can we legislate away all gun violence? No, but we can do a better job holding people accountable for their firearms and make sure we have responsible gun owners. Strengthening Background Checks, Red Flag and Child Access Prevention Gun Laws have been introduced into the House of Representatives for consideration to make responsible gun ownership non-negotiable.
I support this legislation and I will fight to protect our children.