"Thank you, Armed Forces and local response teams." - P.A.Z.
Keeping Americans Safe & Welcoming
Immigration Reform : We should absolutely uphold our immigration laws for legal entry to our country, however no walls or bans on immigrants or certain religious or ethnic groups should ever be instituted. We should instead work to ease the legal pathway to visas, green cards, and/or citizenships, while still vetting applications and refugees to keep Americans safe.
Personal Note: As a first generation American on my father's side, I have deep respect for those who choose to be so bold as to uproot their life, hoping for a new, better one. My grandparents would regale over tales of how they came to America post World-War II, on a boat across the Atlantic, my father then a young boy in tow, and my grandmother seven months pregnant with my now late aunt. They talked of coming to America with only a sixth grade education, little English, one suitcase, and a few dollars. They worked hard, learned the language, and said they lived the American Dream to watch their children and grandchildren go on to college and have good jobs. They have sadly since passed, but I think of their story often, as well as my grandmother's open pride in me for seeking to achieve my dreams. They loved what America gave them, and what it gave us as a family. Let's work to provide this same opportunity and compassion to those who seek refuge and opportunity in our amazing country.
Internet Security : As private citizens, we should be allowed the opportunity to choose how our information is used and to whom it is given. Policy upholding such values should remain in effect.
Sensible Gun Laws : We are not going to take your guns. Repeat. We are not going to take your guns. Let's skip the political rhetoric and realize that in the 21st century it's a simple matter of common-sense gun safety. As someone who grew up in rural areas, I know any true gun owner values safety. All we ask is to help us ensure everyone is safe. Ask any mother or father who lost a child in the multiple mass-shootings of Colorado - it's more than time.
It's really quite simple. Like all items of public safety, for example automobiles and boats, we must adhere to basic regulations such as operator background checks, registration, and licensure.
Some quick statistics on gun safety:
An estimated 130,000 people are shot every year in America, with over 33,000 killed. Seven children/teens are killed every day. This is now more than motor vehicle accidents. Contrary to popular belief, suicides are actually the major driver of gun deaths, often involving white males of less regulated and rural areas. Regarding firearm sales, currently an estimated 40% of gun sales have no background checks at purchase due to loopholes in purchasing online and at gun shows. Yet, with background checks implemented, recent reports from Americans For Responsible Solutions indicate that we see an estimated 48% decrease in law enforcement deaths, an estimated 46% decrease in women killed by violent partners, and an estimated 48% decrease in gun suicides. Furthermore, a study by Kellerman in 1993 (and more recently upheld) showed that those who owned guns are 2.7x more likely to be a homocide victim, and 4.7x more likely to be a suicide victim than non-gun owners.
- Require all firearm purchases receive appropriate background checks to screen for documented mental illness and convicted felons.
- Grant law enforcement permission to institute temporary gun violence restraining orders, which is to say a temporary restriction granted by a judge to restrict an suspected dangerous individual from purchasing weapons. Such provisions allow law enforcement to act in the best interest of public safety temporarily while the courts or hospitals address the matter fully.
- Restricting firearm purchase to those with a misdemeanor of stalking also reduces violent crime.
- Operator age limits (just as is standard with driving and alcohol use)
- Address access to high capacity, rapid-fire weapons clearly design for mass casualty.
- Guns should remain permitted on private properties and designated hunting grounds, but should not be allowed in shared public areas unless carried by a designated official.
Research is unequivocal: We are NOT safer with more guns in public spaces. The second amendment guarantees your right to bear firearms, not your right to open carry. As a state which has experience much mass casualty gun violence, Colorado needs to step up and make the safety of our children and families a top priority, setting an example within our country for others to follow.
Criminal Justice Reform : This is much needed. Some examples:
- Increased rehabilitation programs for first-time offenders, harsher sentences for repeats.
- Eliminate for-profit prisons.
- The death penalty should be largely abolished due to findings of discrimination and exoneration post-execution. It should be considered for use only in the most extreme of circumstances.
- Increased diversity in hiring for police and enhanced trainings on racial/ethnic/gender biases. We greatly appreciate our men and women who put their lives on the line, but there is absolutely no excuse for not working to eliminate minority profiling.
World Ties :
- We need to align closely with our allies and develop or maintain solid relationships across the globe. In a rapidly mobilized and global economy, America's success is tied to the success of others.
- Continued diplomatic efforts aligned closely with our allies to fight ISIS and global terror networks using intelligence and/or military efforts as needed. Always in order of diplomacy, economics, and combat as the ultimate last resort.
- The Syrian (and other) crisis is real and we need to increase our assistance for the families and children affected by increasing refugee acceptance and working with local non-profits to provide the needed support. Vetting is still completed through existing strict standards to ensure safety of all.
- Humanitarian aid is a small portion of our overall budget and should be valued for it's ability to make America a strong, compassionate global leader.