U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the bipartisan group of senators that has been negotiating a legislative package to reduce gun violence, released the following statement after the group announced an initial framework proposal:
“I am a gun owner. I also have two kids who grew up doing active shooter drills that would have been unimaginable when I was their age,” Sen. Heinrich said. “The level of gun violence in our country is appalling and unacceptable. In addition, I refuse to accept the idea that we are so divided that we can’t make this situation better and that’s exactly why I have been part of these efforts to find a meaningful path forward to reduce gun violence. These bipartisan negotiations show that we can work together and that we can create policies that will save lives. I fully recognize that this is just a start, but progress has to begin somewhere. Let’s begin here and now.”
The Bipartisan Gun Safety Proposal announced today includes:
- Support for State Crisis Intervention Orders
- Provides resources to states and tribes to create and administer laws that help ensure deadly weapons are kept out of the hands of individuals whom a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others, consistent with state and federal due process and constitutional protections.
- Investment in Children and Family Mental Health Services
- National expansion of community behavioral health center model; major investments to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention programs; and other support services available in the community, including crisis and trauma intervention and recovery.
- Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence
- Convicted domestic violence abusers and individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders are included in NICS, including those who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
- Funding for School-Based Mental Health and Supportive Services
- Invests in programs to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including: early identification and intervention programs and school based mental health and wrap-around services.
- Funding for School Safety Resources
- Invests in programs to help institute safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools, support school violence prevention efforts and provide training to school personnel and students.
- Clarification of Definition of Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer
- Cracks down on criminals who illegally evade licensing requirements.
- Telehealth Investments
- Invests in programs that increase access to mental and behavioral health services for youth and families in crisis via telehealth.
- Under 21 Enhanced Review Process
- For buyers under 21 years of age, requires an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement.
- Penalties for Straw Purchasing
- Cracks down on criminals who illegally straw purchase and traffic guns.
Heinrich has been involved in previous gun safety legislation efforts, as well. After the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, in which the perpetrator used a bump stock to kill 59 people, Heinrich introduced bipartisan legislation to prohibit the sale of bump stock devices and other mechanisms which cause semi-automatic weapons to substantially increase their rate of fire, effectively operating as fully automatic weapons.
Heinrich also cosponsored the bipartisan Fix NICS Act, which now requires federal and state authorities to produce background check implementation plans and holds federal agencies accountable for reporting relevant criminal records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). He also led the successful call to repeal the Dickey Amendment, which had previously prevented the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from funding research on gun violence and its effects on public health.