As a career prosecutor, Kathleen has seen firsthand the devastating effects of gun violence in America. Parents robbed of their children. Young men and women robbed of their futures. Communities terrorized. Families forced to live in constant fear for their safety.
Too much time has passed, too many lives have been lost, too many mass shootings have come and gone while Congress repeatedly fails to take action. Kathleen is committed to passing common-sense legislative solutions that will prevent gun violence and save lives without infringing on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.
Kathleen has spent more than two decades fighting to make our communities safer. As a former homicide prosecutor in Brooklyn and a former federal gun crimes prosecutor in Philadelphia, Kathleen started her career as an advocate for victims and was never afraid to go after criminals who bring violence into our communities. As District Attorney of Nassau County, Kathleen aggressively enforced gun laws and led intelligence-driven investigations to take down gun traffickers and seize illegal guns before they reached our neighborhoods. Under Kathleen’s leadership, the DA’s office built lasting community partnerships and implemented innovative prevention programs in our schools that empower kids with the information they need to resist guns, drugs and gang violence. Kathleen also led Nassau County’s tremendously successful gun buyback program, which has taken thousands of illegal guns off our streets at no expense to taxpayers.
Kathleen knows that real progress in preventing gun violence demands action at the federal level, and as a Vice Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, she is making it a priority to help break through the gridlock in Congress and pass common-sense solutions that we know will save lives. Some of her priorities include:
Universal Background Checks: In March, Kathleen joined four Republicans and three Democrats as an original cosponsor of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2015. This bipartisan legislation will require background checks for all gun sales in America, closing loopholes that allow criminals to avoid background checks by going to a gun show or buying a gun online. This bill will not infringe on any law-abiding citizen’s Second Amendment rights or impose any new restrictions on gun ownership – it will simply ensure that we can enforce current law and keep guns out of the hands of people who are already legally prohibited from owning them, including violent felons, domestic abusers and people with dangerous mental disorders. Passing this bill into law will not eliminate gun violence overnight, but it will save lives, and it is the single most effective step we can take.
Gun violence and mental illness: Kathleen also cosponsored the Safer Communities Act of 2015, which will strengthen measures to prevent individuals with dangerous mental disorders from accessing guns, and expand restrictions to include individuals who have been involuntarily committed to outpatient treatment if a court has deemed that they pose a significant danger to themselves or others. The bill also providing greater resources to improve mental health services and research and enhance the submission of mental health records into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database.
Military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines: Kathleen will work to reinstate the ban on assault weapons, which expired in 2004 after Congress failed to reauthorize it, and she is an original cosponsor of legislation that would ban the sale of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices. These weapons and ammunition feeding devices are not used for sport or self-defense, and we know too well that they threaten to turn our schools, movie theaters and public spaces into scenes of utter horror.
Select Committee to Investigate Gun Violence: In October 2015, Kathleen cosponsored a resolution that would create a bipartisan Select Committee of the House to investigate the causes and effects of gun violence and issue legislative proposals that will help reduce gun violence. Kathleen knows that Democrats and Republicans don’t always agree on the solutions to prevent gun violence, but we should all agree that gun violence is a very real and very serious problem in America, and this committee offers the best opportunity to bring both parties together and finally take action after so many years of debate. Click here to read Kathleen’s opinion piece in the Long Island Herald: We need a bipartisan solution to gun violence