WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined fellow Senate Democrats in unveiling principles for new gun safety legislation, launching a major effort to pressure Congressional leaders to pass new laws. Sen. Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), joined by colleagues from Oregon and Connecticut, led a news conference on the steps of the U.S. Capitol today, announcing an effort to strengthen existing background checks, closing loopholes and shutting down the pipeline of illegal guns.
Since the horrific shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, almost three years ago, there have been more than 140 school shootings, including the mass shooting at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon one week ago today. The Oregon shooting occurred just over a month after the tragic on-air murders of two WDBJ-TV reporters near Roanoke, Virginia on August 26th.
“We can and should take these first steps. We can and should work to make sure that those with criminal records and serious mental issues don’t get easy access to guns,” Sen. Warner said at today’s news conference. “An overwhelming majority of gun owners support this: more gun owners than non-gun owners support expanded background checks. I’m one of them, and I call on other responsible gun owners to join us.”
The legislation will focus on strengthening existing background checks to effectively identify and block purchases by dangerous individuals who should not get weapons; closing loopholes that allow people to purchase guns on the internet or at gun shows without a background check; and making “straw purchases” – in which one person buys a gun for someone who is not legally allowed to have one – a federal crime.