October 08, 2015

Udall Statement on Senate Democrats’ Principles for Gun Safety Legislation

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement after Senate Democrats announced principles for new gun safety legislation:

"A week ago, the nation was horrified yet again by another mass shooting, this time at an Oregon community college. Jill and I mourn the victims, and our hearts go out to their friends and families and the entire community of Roseburg, Oregon. Our thoughts are with them and too many other communities around the country that struggle with gun violence.

"Americans have been shocked and saddened by the tragedies in Tucson, Newtown, Aurora, Charleston, Roseburg and elsewhere. But mass shootings are only part of the story. Every day, 30 Americans die from gun violence. Parents, siblings, friends and strangers mourn the victims and pray for an end to the violence. It's past time to do more than offer prayers. We need to improve mental health care. We need to ensure teachers and school administrators, first responders and others have the right training to recognize and treat people before they become violent. And I'm convinced that we also must take reasonable steps to strengthen existing laws and keep guns out of the hands of violent offenders and illegal traffickers.

"I support the rights of law-abiding New Mexicans who want to use guns for hunting, self-protection or recreation. And I believe we can respect their Second Amendment rights while tackling the tragic problem of gun violence. I have voted for commonsense legislation to prevent gun trafficking and expand background checks. I share the frustration felt by victims' families that these steps have been blocked by politics. And I will join with anyone in Congress to enact these measures and reduce violent gun crimes while upholding the traditions of responsible gun owners in New Mexico and across the nation."

Udall supports the Democratic principles released today, which seek to:

-Close background check loopholes that have allowed people to purchase guns over the Internet and at gun shows without having first passed a background check.

-Improve background checks by eliminating gaps in the system, including:
prohibiting domestic abusers, stalkers and other abusers from purchasing guns;
ensuring that states submit all prohibitive records to the federal database;
and ensuring that people are not allowed to buy guns without a completed background check. This would have prevented the Charleston shooter from purchasing a weapon.

-Shut down the illegal gun pipeline by making gun trafficking and "straw purchasing" -- in which one person buys a gun for someone else who is not legally allowed to have one -- federal crimes. This will give law enforcement the tools it needs to stop the flood of illegal weapons across state lines.