On Guns, Fortenberry Is Putting Trump and the Special Interests First

Once again, we had another mass shooting in America. The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas was horrific and the worst in American history. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. This is just heartbreaking.

Unfortunately, mass shootings are a regular occurrence in the U.S. Over 270 mass shootings have occurred in America in the 275 days of the calendar year 2017. We are the only country in the First World that has a problem with ongoing gun violence and carnage.

The primary reason why the U.S. is exceptional in this regard is because we have the loosest guns laws of any First World industrialized country. It is all too easy to get a gun in the U.S. These terrible gun laws are the result of years of special interest lobbying by the N.R.A. – which represents the gun manufacturing industry.

Nebraska CD01’s long time member of Congress Jeff Fortenberry is the recipient of approximately $12,000.00 in campaign cash from the NRA over the course of his 12.5 years in the House of Representatives and a staunch supporter of the gun lobby. In 2015, Fortenberry voted to bar the Centers for Disease Control from funding any research on gun violence and make recommendations. Earlier this year, the Nebraska CD01 member of Congress voted for legislation to make it easier for the mentally ill to have access to guns.

It’s pretty evident that Fortenberry is putting Trump and out of state special interests first on the issue of gun violence. He is badly out of touch with his constituents. Washington is broken and Mr. Fortenberry is part of the problem. We need new leadership in Washington. If you want different results out of Washington, you have to vote for different people.

As a member of Congress, I would pledge to take on the NRA and vote for common sense legislation aimed at reducing gun violence and making it harder for unsuitable people to purchase guns. I would support these reforms suggested by Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times:

  1. Impose universal background checks for anyone buying a gun. Four out of five Americans support this measure, to prevent criminals or terrorists from obtaining guns.

  2. Impose a minimum age limit of 21 on gun purchases. This is already the law for handgun purchases in many states, and it mirrors the law on buying alcohol.

  3. Enforce a ban on possession of guns by anyone subject to a domestic violence protection order. This is a moment when people are upset and prone to violence against their ex-es.

  4. Limit gun purchases by any one person to no more than, say, two a month, and tighten rules on straw purchasers who buy for criminals. Make serial numbers harder to remove.

  5. Adopt microstamping of cartridges so that they can be traced to the gun that fired them, useful for solving gun crimes.

  6. Invest in “smart gun” purchases by police departments or the U.S. military, to promote their use. Such guns require a PIN or can only be fired when near a particular bracelet or other device, so that children cannot misuse them and they are less vulnerable to theft. The gun industry made a childproof gun in the 1800’s but now resists smart guns.

  7. Require safe storage, to reduce theft, suicide and accidents by children.

  8. Invest in research to see what interventions will be more effective in reducing gun deaths. We know, for example, that alcohol and guns don’t mix, but we don’t know precisely what laws would be most effective in reducing the resulting toll. Similar investments in reducing other kinds of accidental deaths have been very effective.

Another solution to the ongoing problem of gun violence is to make mental health care treatment more accessible and affordable to people who need it. I would support expanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by allowing anybody to buy into Medicare and Medicaid. Under my plan, any consumer could select Medicare or Medicaid as his/her insurance carrier.

Unfortunately, Mr. Fortenberry went in the wrong direction on health care. On May 5, Fortenberry voted with most of his colleagues to take away insurance from 22 million people in order to fund a tax cut for the wealthy.

It is well past time for change in Washington. I’m running to put Nebraska First, Nebraska Always. The current GOP majority in Congress is failing the people of Nebraska CD01 and the country in general. It’s time to repeal and replace Fortenberry and to flip the House in 2018! Let’s get it done!

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