Crime & Gang Violence
Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our communities is one of my top priorities. I will continue to support federal programs that provide our local law enforcement with the resources they need to prevent violent crime in our communities. I voted in support of continued federal funding in FY 2020 for the COPS Hiring and Byrne JAG grant programs, which have enabled law enforcement agencies to build partnerships with community leaders, reduce criminal activity, and implement crime prevention programs nationwide.
I also recognize the need for effective criminal justice reform in the United States. Significant increases in prison populations have led to overcrowding in prisons and put a strain on state budgets. As a strong supporter of sentencing reform, I also believe we must emphasize rehabilitation and reduce our prison population. People from minority communities are overrepresented in percentages of arrests, or convictions and Congress should carefully examine these racial disparities at the federal level.
Mandatory minimum sentencing laws disproportionately target minority communities in the United States, hurt families, and create conditions that increase recidivism. Federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws must be changed to improve our criminal justice system and allow people who have been incarcerated to rebuild their lives after returning from state and federal prisons, local jails, or juvenile facilities.
Following the two devastating mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio in early August 2019, over 30 people were killed, and more than 30 people were injured. These unconscionable acts of violence are deeply troubling, and I am saddened by the ongoing trend of recent mass shootings at our nation’s schools, workplaces, universities, places of worship, and other public spaces. Such senseless tragedies are of grave concern to me, and they have shaken communities across our nation.
Maintaining a careful balance between preserving Second Amendment rights and strengthening safety in gun ownership is necessary in crafting gun control policy, and I am sensitive to both sides of the issue. While I understand the right of Americans to protect themselves, we must continue to work to craft better gun control laws to identify and detain these criminals before they carry out these attacks.
In the 115th Congress, I cosponsored the Gun Violence Research Act, which would restore gun violence research programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health. To prevent these shootings, we must strengthen our understanding of the long-term effects of gun violence on the health and safety of our communities. As a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, I will continue to champion legislation that will protect our communities, promote responsible gun ownership, and prevent these tragedies from occurring again.