I know firsthand the terrible toll that crime and violence takes on our community and nation. In 1999, my youngest son Huey was shot and killed in Chicago. For my family and me, our lives were forever changed by this tragedy. I know we are not alone.
Gun violence is an epidemic in our country. Over the past several years, we have all seen the horrors of gun violence perpetrated against our nation and many of us have witnessed the less publicized displays of gun violence on our city streets.
I firmly believe that proposals before the Congress to regulate the purchase of firearms do not infringe on the rights afforded by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. As the late Justice Scalia wrote in the Majority Opinion for District of Columbia v. Heller, “Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on … laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” (District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008))
Many of the proposals under discussion do not prevent an individual from purchasing a firearm. Rather, they implement a commonsense requirement (for example, background checks before sale) that has bipartisan support. The purpose of this legislation is not to prevent law-abiding citizens from possessing firearms, but instead, to prevent guns from falling into the hands of those who may harm themselves or society.