WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) spoke on the Senate floor to urge support for the bipartisan Terrorist Firearms Prevention Act, legislation to prevent individuals who are on the No Fly List from purchasing firearms.
The legislation, led by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), was introduced today and is also cosponsored by Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Angus King (I-ME), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
Below are Senator Heinrich's remarks as prepared for delivery:
As the father of two young boys, I can't begin to imagine the nightmare that families are living through as they mourn the loss of their children in the wake of yet another horrific mass shooting.
No parent should have to live in fear of their child not coming home from school.
Just last week, one of my boys went through active shooter training.
Sadly, that is now the new norm in schools across this country.
91 Americans are killed each day by gun violence.
We cannot accept that status quo as the new normal when there are real steps we can take to reduce gun violence while respecting our constitutional rights.
Once again, Americans are looking to Congress to finally enact common-sense reforms to our gun laws to protect our children and our communities.
Like so many Americans, I have been deeply moved by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and young people across the nation who have spoken out after losing classmates and friends to demand that lawmakers take action to prevent future tragedies.
It is no secret that I am a passionate outdoorsman and hunter, and the owner of firearms.
I strongly believe that law abiding Americans have a constitutional right to own guns for both sport and self-defense.
I am teaching my own sons how to safely and responsibly use firearms.
But the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners like myself, know that Congress must take action to close loopholes and reform our laws to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of those who would turn them on our communities.
Today, I am proud to join colleagues from both sides of the aisle-Senators Collins, Heitkamp, and Flake-to introduce one of those measures that should have broad bipartisan support.
Our bipartisan legislation-the Terrorist Firearms Prevention Act-would deny firearms sales to individuals who appear on the Department of Justice's No Fly List or the Selectee List.
Our legislation includes due process procedures for individuals to appeal their placement on those lists.
It seems pretty straight forward that if our government has determined that an individual is on one of these terrorist watch lists and is too dangerous to fly on an airplane, that person should not be able to purchase a gun.
But unless we pass this legislation, this glaring loophole will keep allowing individuals identified as terror suspects to buy guns. It's time for those members of Congress who oppose common-sense reforms like this to finally step up and tell us what they are going to do to protect the public.
It's time for all of us to listen to the student leaders across this country who are rejecting the unacceptable status quo of our nation's gun violence epidemic.
Those of us in the Senate who know firearms well have a duty to lead these efforts and to get the details right on any legislation to reshape our nation's gun laws.
Inaction won't cut it.
We all need to listen to the students, parents, and teachers who are calling on us to be part of the solution.
New Mexicans can count on me, despite the odds, to continue fighting for real solutions to keep our children safe and reduce gun violence in our communities.