Beto For America

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Combating Gun Violence in America

On Aug. 3, Beto’s hometown of El Paso, Texas — one of the safest cities in America — was attacked in one of the deadliest mass shootings in our country’s modern history. This was an act of white nationalist terror, and one we could have prevented.

All countries have video games. All countries struggle with mental health. All countries deal with hatred. But only America has more guns than human beings — 390 million firearms in a country of 329 million people — which kill nearly 40,000 people every year.

Following the lead of the moms demanding action and the students marching for their lives, and for all of ours, Beto believes we can end this epidemic. 

That’s why he has released the most ambitious plan in the race to reduce gun violence—a plan that would:

  1. End influence of NRA in stifling progress on gun violence prevention. Our system is broken when lawmakers are more representative of special interests like the NRA than people they were elected to serve who are being gunned down in their places of worship, schools and neighborhoods. As president, Beto will sign into law the No PAC Act, which he introduced as a Member of Congress, which would ban PAC contributions to Members of Congress or those seeking federal office. 
  2. Create a nationwide gun licensing system and registry. Beto will work with Congress to create a nationwide gun licensing system that will ensure individuals seeking a gun undergo an assessment by law enforcement and a background check. Individuals must be 21 years old to receive a license, will be required to complete a certified gun safety training, and will need to renew their licenses every five years. Individuals will also be required to register their guns through a registry and all new handguns will be microstamped. In recognition of the country’s long hunting tradition, those under 21 with hunting licenses will be able to lawfully possess firearms for hunting. States will have the flexibility to administer their own licensing systems, allowing them to set higher standards.  Where a state does not have a system in place, the federal government will administer the system.
  3. Require universal background checks at point of purchase. The vast majority of Americans support background checks for individuals seeking to purchase guns, yet only 12 states and Washington, D.C. have adopted universal background checks. In order to receive a gun license, individuals would be required to undergo a background check. 
  4. Ban Assault Weapons, Trigger Cranks, Silencers, Bump Stocks, and High-Capacity Magazines. Since the assault weapons ban expired in 2004, mass shootings have skyrocketed and become deadlier. Beto will work with Congress to ban the manufacturing, sale, and possession of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. 
  5. Implement a national buyback program for banned assault weapons and handguns. Weapons of war belong on the battlefield, not in our communities or on our streets. Beto is calling for a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons and a voluntary buyback program for handguns. To create a funding stream for buybacks, Beto will increase the excise tax on gun manufacturers and fines imposed on gun traffickers, and will enable ATF to purchase any banned assault weapons presented to the agency.  Individuals who fail to participate in the mandatory buyback of assault weapons will be fined.
  6. Make it harder for people to stockpile weapons. As president, Beto will limit individuals to one gun purchase per month and direct ATF to deem any individual or business that sells over five guns in a single year a gun “dealer.” Dealers are subject to background check requirements. 
  7. Implement Extreme Risk Protection Orders, also known as Red Flag Laws, and close loopholes so domestic abusers, those who pose a threat to themselves or others can’t get guns. As president, Beto will establish a federal red flag law, allowing police departments in states without red flag laws to petition in federal courts to have weapons removed from those who present a danger to themselves or others. Beto will also work with Congress to close loopholes that allow dangerous individuals and domestic abusers from accessing guns, including the private sale loophole (online and gun shows), the boyfriend loophole, and the Charleston loophole. 
  8. Declare gun violence a public health emergency. When 40,000 people a year die of gun violence, it is an emergency. Beto will use executive powers to direct his Surgeon General to recognize gun violence as a public health crisis and will invest $320 million annually for the CDC and NIH to study gun violence.
  9. Make gun trafficking a federal crime. America’s weak gun laws have contributed to the spread in gun violence abroad. Currently, individuals who traffic multiple guns to individuals prohibited from firearm possession or through straw purchases are often only able to be prosecuted for a paperwork violation. As President, Beto will address this by making gun trafficking and straw purchases federal crimes.

Beto believes Congress needs to act on gun violence, but he will not hesitate to use Executive Action. As president, he will:

  • Reverse the Trump administration’s policy of allowing fugitives to purchase guns. In January 2017, Trump’s DOJ set a new policy for FBI and state background check operators that prohibited them from denying gun sales to fugitives without knowledge of their whereabouts or state of mind. This resulted in an 80% drop in denials to fugitives.
  • Undo regulatory action that allows access to the 3D printing of plastic guns. In 2018, Trump made it easier to make firearms at home using 3D printers by allowing the widespread production of 3D gun blueprints. ATF is now reporting a surge in unserialized firearm recoveries at crime scenes, stating that 30% of guns recovered in California are unserialized.
  • Direct ATF to deem any individual or business that sells over 5 guns in a single year a gun “dealer.” Dealers are subject to background check requirements, and the loophole that allows non-dealers to conduct private sales of firearms allows people to buy guns who wouldn’t otherwise be allowed to do so.  
  • Provide ATF with the resources it needs to ensure adequate oversight of the gun industry. As a result of lobbying from the NRA, ATF has been underfunded and restricted in its ability to perform sufficient oversight on the gun industry. Beto will work with Congress to ensure that the budget includes robust funding for ATF’s regulatory oversight functions and removes budget riders that will unduly burden the agency’s ability to do its job.
    • For full oversight of the gun industry, Beto will also
      • Repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Revoke the protections offered by this law, which shields firearm manufacturers and dealers from liability when their products are used to commit crimes.
      • Restore Consumer Protection on Gun Safety. As President, Beto will support the Firearm Safety Act which restores the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s jurisdiction over firearms and firearm component safety regulations.

Beto will also support those who have been harmed by gun violence—and support communities aiming to combat this epidemic. As president, he will:

  • Address existing suffering by
    • Increasing trauma support 
    • Provide funding for community-based public education around firearm safety and firearm suicides; and
    • Provide funding for community-based violence retrenchment programs, equipping violence interrupters with the support they need to change behavior at the local level.
  • Increase funding for the CDC and NIH to conduct research on gun violence. Because of lobbying from the NRA, Congress has passed budget restrictions aimed at chilling federally funded research on gun violence. As President, Beto will invest $320 million annually for the CDC and NIH to address the gaps in our ability to study gun violence.