Gun Violence Prevention Plan

 

The level of gun violence we experience in America is inexcusable. Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed in a gun homicide compared to other developed countries. In New Mexico alone, the gun death rate has substantially increased over the past decade— with a staggering 115% rise in firearm homicides in just the past five years. 
 
My Commitment & Experience 
 
I am committed to advancing bold policies to combat gun violence. It’s a commitment rooted in an understanding of the toll that gun violence has on our communities—where many of us, including me, hear the sound of guns almost every day.
 
My commitment comes from a personal lived experience seeing my community struggle to combat this battle, and coming of age in a generation marked by countless tragedies. One of my earliest memories as a child, was being sat down by my parents in shock, as they explaining what happened in  Columbine. 
 
And now, as an adult, I think back to just last year, driving back from the capital when I hear about the Walmart shooting in El Paso. I remember exactly where I was. I pulled over, took out my phone, and frantically called every single person that I could think of in El Paso. I remember my heart sinking every time it went to voicemail. Hundreds of New Mexicans have faced unbelievable loss, pain, and life altering results as a consequence of these shootings. 
 
I may be the only candidate in this race that grew up going to school and participating in active shooter drills. No child should grow up in a society where they are desensitized from day one, and as adults it’s considered normal actively brace yourself for an eventual shooting every time you go out in public. 
 
Addressing this epidemic should be at the forefront of every policymaker. 
 
Both thankfully and somewhat regrettably, I have experience in gun safety policy – and I’ll take my learnings to Congress. Serving as a top aide for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, I’m proud to have been at the forefront of the state’s efforts to curb gun violence, including helping to enact an extreme risk protection order and a universal background check law. However, New Mexico still has the fourth-highest  gun death rate in the country – and it may be years before this rate reduces due to our recent successes. 
 
But no state laws will substitute for strong federal policy—and that’s what I intend to fight for in Congress. 
 
It’s time for leaders to act, and to do so with purpose.  
 
My Gun Safety Plan
 
We must pass universal background checks and close every single loophole that exists. In addition, we must ensure that weapons of war have no place on our streets. And critically, federal investments must be increased and targeted to both preventative programs and broader opportunities to structurally decrease gun violence to begin with. 
 
There’s an extensive array of legislative proposals and executive actions that Congress must pursue immediately. However, in Congress I’ll make it a priority to not just sponsor bills, but increase the political will necessary to pass them. This will include:

  • Asking Speaker Pelosi to continue the existence of and to place me on the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force – New Mexican’s need a voice, and I can bring my successes at the state level to Congress. 

  • Call on the Congressional Progressive Caucus to establish a Task Force/Legislative package aimed specifically at the reduction of gun violence.

  • Seeking to proactively garner bipartisan support for legislation Democrats introduce

  • Holding regular briefings with national and New Mexico gun safety stakeholders to ensure our priorities are right and that we don’t lose momentum. 

 
On the legislative front, we must be bold in supporting both comprehensive and targeted legislation. Where we can, we must cultivate bipartisan engagement and support, but we can’t let that slow down our momentum either. This will include:

  • Comprehensive Reform – My top priority will be to help build support across Congress for legislation like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. This is a comprehensive bill which would hold law enforcement accountable for their actions while acting in the line of duty, develop uniform standards for law enforcement, increase law enforcement misconduct data collection, improve police training and policies, require identifiable federal law enforcement officers to wear body cameras, limit the transfer of certain military equipment to local law enforcement, change the use of force standard for federal law enforcement officers, and incentivize states to establish a law prohibiting no-knock warrants in drug cases.

  • Universal Background Checks – I will support legislation like the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which would enact universal background checks and require a background check for all gun sales and transfers, with exceptions for family members, self-defense, law enforcement, and hunting/target shooting. I’ll also push Congress to ensure we close the so-called “Charleston loophole” that allows a sale to proceed after three days even if the background check is not complete.

  • Ensure Background Check Completion – build more bipartisan support for the Enhanced Background Checks Act, which would increase the time the FBI has to complete a background check from three to 10 days, subject to specified procedures. The Senate did not vote on this legislation or any other bills that would provide more time for federal law enforcement to complete background checks.

  • War Capacity Weapons -- support efforts like the Keep Americans Safe Act, which would ban ammunition magazines 7 which can contain more than 10 rounds. No votes were taken in the Senate on the bill’s companion

  • Extreme Risk Laws – use my experience to help Congress pass the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, which would provide grants to states to implement extreme risk laws and create an extreme risk process in federal courts. 

  • Domestic Partner Loopholes – support bills like the the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which would close the boyfriend and stalker loopholes by prohibiting dating partners convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from possessing firearms, and prohibit individuals convicted of misdemeanor stalking from possessing firearms.

  • Hate Crimes Prohibition – support legislation like the Disarm Hate Act, which would prohibit firearm access among people who have been convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime involving the use or threatened use of violence or a deadly weapon. 

  • Ghost Guns – If the Biden-Harris Administration cannot ban ghost guns by rulemaking, then Congress should pass legislation to do so. Ghost guns are homemade firearms assembled from kits or made with 3D printers. They are untraceable by law enforcement and often undetectable by metal detectors, as they pose a grave threat to public safety.

  • Gun Industry Immunity – Congress needs to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which provides broad immunity to gun manufacturers and dealers in federal and state courts. 

  • Firearm Dealer Regulation – Firearm dealers supply the majority of guns that eventually end up in crimes, and contribute to trafficking when they sell off the books. Congress should pass legislation increasing regulation of federally licensed firearms dealers and providing more teeth to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to go after gun dealers. 

 
On the federal funding and rulemaking front, there are several clear and bold opportunities to reduce gun violence and promote structural changes in our communities here in New Mexico. These include:

  • Funding For Research – Congress can increase funding for our national centers-- including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). Their research is lifesaving, and only recently has the federal government begun to fund their work. We must continue to make investments for our next generation. 

  • Evidence and Community Based Strategies – this past year, we’ve witnessed the seeds of structural change across our country. But more funding is now needed to address the increase in gun violence we’ve seen, and to help communities grapple with solutions. Congress specifically should focus on directing funds for community- and evidence- based strategies/programs through the Department of Justice and other federal agencies, which include conflict mediation, street outreach, group-violence intervention, and hospital-based violence intervention programs associated with homicide reductions. 

  • School Shooting Funding – Congress and the Administration shouldn’t be incentivizing schools to focus on how to fire guns correctly in schools. We should prohibit the use of federal funds to arm or train educators to discharge firearms.

  • Housing And Essential Services – Much of the discussion around the issues facing the poor in our country are politicized already. Yet, housing and food insecurity, and behavioral health challenges often exacerbate. We need Congress to make sure these essential federal programs aren’t only fully funded, but that there’s research to prove their impact on keeping our communities safe in the long-term. 

 
Ending needless gun violence, and reducing gun deaths across America will take time, and it will take sustained efforts by policymakers at all levels of government. I am committed to serving New Mexican’s as their ambassador and their advocate on gun safety issues—and I promise that this plan is just a starting point in what I hope will be a long-term campaign to fight for a better, safer, tomorrow. 

Victor Reyes for Congress

P.O. Box 7301

Albuquerque, NM 87194

info@victorreyes.org

Paid for by Victor Reyes for Congress.