Wefer Statement on Gun Violence

"My experience on both "sides of the aisle" has taught me that ALL people are horrified by the slaughter of children, regardless of political affiliation. I share everyone's feeling of grief and helplessness over the mass shooting in Florida yesterday. But over time, I have hardened, and the predominant emotion I now feel is anger. I am furious that the leaders we have in congress refuse to lead on this issue. I am furious that in an age where private citizens can launch rockets into space and fly drones overhead, we are not able to prevent the violent massacre of our citizens by one person with a gun.

The inability to do anything about gun violence is the bloodiest evidence of the partisan divide that has paralyzed our government for several decades now. Conservative arguments in favor of the right to own guns, the philosophical underpinnings of the 2nd Amendment, are important and hold as true today as they did when our founding fathers drafted the constitution. Liberal arguments for the regulation of guns are grounded in a genuine love for people and a desire to live free of the fear of mass violence. We need both viewpoints at the table, but both parties must be willing to come to the table.

We have guns in our home. My husband owned them when we met and, at first, I was horrified by them. It is scary to hold in your hand something that could snuff out another person's life in an instant. I am not fully educated on guns, but I have become more comfortable handling them and having guns in our house makes me feel safer, especially after an incident last year when someone tried to get into our home in the middle of the night. Most people who own guns are like me and my husband, regular people who want to feel safe and laws intended to stem gun violence must bear this in mind.

There is low hanging fruit on the issue of gun violence. Bump stocks are an obvious start. People who are convicted of domestic violence should lose their right to own guns, not just their right to buy new ones. Getting illegal guns off the streets and crafting legislation to stem the flow of illegal guns should be a top priority to protect civilians, law enforcement, and people who come into contact with law enforcement. Mental illness and the role that psychotropic pharmaceuticals play in these mass shootings needs to be candidly explored. Our technology has advanced greatly and I believe that it can help us tackle the issue of gun violence, especially accidental gun violence, which concerns me as a mother, or having your own gun turned on you while defending yourself, which concerns me as a woman.

There are areas where the right and the left will never agree on this issue, but our common desire as Americans to be able to send our children to school safely must overcome our partisan tribal instincts. We desperately need leaders, free of special interest influence, who will focus on solutions to gun violence while honoring the right of law abiding citizens under the 2nd Amendment. We need progress. As Senator, I will lead the way."