On the Issues: Gun Violence Prevention
Qasim Rashid’s experience with guns began in his childhood when his parents taught him responsible gun ownership. He believes in protecting the Second Amendment but ensuring violent felons, domestic abusers, and otherwise dangerous individuals do not have easy access to guns.
Gun violence is an epidemic in America, causing over 40,000 annual deaths, far surpassing every other developed nation and western democracy. Meaningful gun laws work, ensuring responsible citizens have access to firearms for self-defense and hunting needs, while keeping our citizens and schoolchildren protected from mass shooters and terrorists.
We can look to the rest of the world for evidence that responsible gun laws work:
- After the 1987 Hungerford mass shooting left 16 dead, England enacted meaningful gun reform. England has experienced one mass shooting since.
- After the 1995 Port Arther mass shooting left 35 dead, Australia enacted responsible gun legislation. Australia has experienced zero mass shootings since.
- After the Dunblane Primary School mass shooting left 18 dead, Scotland enacted meaningful gun reform. Scotland has experienced zero mass shootings since.
- After the 2009 Winnenden school shooting left 16 dead, Germany enacted responsible gun legislation. Germany has experienced only one mass shooting since.
- Data from GunViolenceArchive.org, which documents every shooting and mass shooting in America, shows that, since the 1999 Columbine shooting that left 14 dead, America has enacted insufficient meaningful pieces of gun reform legislation. America has since experienced over 5,000 mass shootings, including hundreds of school shootings in which innocent school children were killed.
Responsible gun laws don’t curtail freedom, happiness, safety, and/or national peace — they support freedom, happiness, safety, and national peace. We can see how by looking at just four representative democracies as examples—Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, and New Zealand. Each are developed western societies with comparable economies, living standards, and demographics to the United States. Here’s what we learn by looking at these nations:
- Each of these countries rank well ahead of America in the freedoms, happiness, safety, and peace that its citizens enjoy.
- The conservative leaning Cato Institute’s annual human freedom index reports that on personal freedoms, New Zealand ranks 1st, Australia ranks 4th, the United Kingdom ranks 8th, Germany ranks 13th, and the United States is 17th.
- The World Happiness Report states that New Zealand ranks 8th, Australians rank 10th in happiness, Germans rank 15th, Americans rank 18th, and the British rank 19th.
- When it comes to the World Safety Index, New Zealand ranks 3rd, Australians are the 12th safest worldwide, Germans are 13th safest, the British are 35th safest, and Americans are only 49th safest.
- Finally, looking at the Global Peace Index, New Zealand ranks 2nd, Australia ranks 13th, Germany ranks 17th, the British rank 57th, and the United States ranks an astounding 121st — ahead of only 42 countries.
If more unregulated guns truly meant more freedom, safety, happiness, and peace, America would lead each of these categories. Instead we lag far behind. Each of these vital components to a thriving democracy are stifled when guns fall into the hands of terrorists and extremists. However, democracy, freedom, safety, happiness, and peace thrive when people petition their governments to enact responsible gun laws.
- Universal background checks.
- Ban on automatic and military style semi-automatic weapons.
- Ban on possession or production of high capacity magazines.
- Close the Charleston loophole which allows the sale of a firearm if a background check is not completed within three days.
- Instituting a seven day waiting period for gun purchases.
- Red Flag Laws (extreme risk protection orders) that, when approved by a judge, grant law enforcement the ability to temporarily confiscate someone’s firearms. These laws have bipartisan support across the country. As Indiana Governor, Mike Pence passed a red flag law to protect Indiana’s residents. As Vice President Mike Pence praised Indiana’s red flag law as a “blueprint for the entire nation.”
As Congressman, Qasim will work to assure the empowerment of Virginians to use guns responsibly, while enjoying the freedoms, happiness, safety, and peace that comes with that ownership.