Padilla: Our Priorities Are Entirely Backwards When We Make It Easier To Buy A Gun Than We Do To Cast A Ballot
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) participated in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine proposals to reduce gun violence. Padilla questioned a panel of witnesses including, Dr. Selwyn Rogers, Jr., Chief of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery at University of Chicago Medicine, and Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Giffords Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence. The hearing comes as the nation mourns two horrific mass shootings in the past week alone in Atlanta, Georgia and Boulder, Colorado.
Padilla began his questioning by pointing out the stark contrast of access to the ballot box versus access to guns, saying, “In a majority of states, new voters are able to obtain a rifle quicker than they’re able to cast their first ballot. It seems to me that we have our priorities entirely backwards when it comes to this – when we make it easier to buy a gun than we do to cast a ballot.” Padilla went on to ask Dr. Selwyn Rogers, Jr. to speak on this issue and discuss gun violence as a systemic trauma.
Dr. Rogers confirmed Padilla’s point that our country is has it wrong – it should not be easier to purchase a gun than to vote. He also spoke about how gun violence disproportionately affects communities of color, particularly Black men.
Padilla went on to discuss the threat of domestic terrorism, citing a summary put out by the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security on domestic violent extremists. Padilla referenced the recent Atlanta, Georgia shooting and highlighted the consequences of having no wait gun laws, “Violent attacks against minorities, specifically Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, have been on the rise since early last year. In fact, the day before this summary was released, a domestic terrorist entered a firearms dealership in Georgia, purchased a 9mm handgun, and received it almost immediately due to Georgia’s “no-wait” gun laws. This terrorist would go on to murder eight innocent people later that day, including six Asian women.” Padilla asked Ms. Robyn Thomas to speak about the benefits of waiting periods for gun purchases.
Ms. Thomas confirmed waiting periods effectively reduce rates for both homicide and suicide and that waiting periods are fully constitutional.
Padilla is a cosponsor of various gun safety bills including, the Background Check Expansion Act, which requires background checks for the sale or transfer of all firearms, the Background Check Completion Act, which closes a loophole that allows gun sales to proceed if a background check is not completed, and the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021, which bans the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
For additional information, witnesses and testimonies on the hearing, click here.