“I Won’t Take Money From The NRA”

LITTLE ROCK – I left the U.S. Air Force to become a mom. I became a teacher because I knew I would be able to serve my country in a way that was far less dangerous than remaining in the military – or so I thought.

And then Columbine happened, creating in me a deep cognitive dissonance. Teaching wasn’t supposed to equate to serving in a potential war zone. It was supposed to allow me to do good and to be a mom.

Every time I hear of yet another school shooting, I remember the shock and the horror I felt when I first realized that while I had left the military, I was now responsible for the safety of the youngest of Americans.

Now, all these years later, the number of school shootings just keeps increasing. We hold drills at school – active shooter drills. We actually practice how we will respond to mass murder. At school. With kids. It is unconscionable to me that children have to run through the same sort of life-saving drills that I practiced in the military.

I grew up with guns in my childhood home. There are guns in my adult home. As a U.S. Air Force Airman, I qualified to shoot M-16s even as their civilian equivalent – AR-15s – were banned from civilian use. Did you know that these days, it’s now easier to buy this semi-automatic rifle than it is to buy a handgun? Did you know that federal law makes it legal to purchase weapons from individuals or at gun shows without being required to have a background check? Did you know that one can legally own an AR-15 three years before being legally able to purchase alcohol?

We. Need. Change.

I believe that all guns sales should be recorded and that anyone buying a gun should be required to undergo – and pass – a background check.

As a congressional candidate, here is what I promise you:

  • I will not accept money from the NRA, unlike my opponent, U.S. Representative French Hill, who has taken more money from that organization than any other Representative – $1,089,477, to be exact.

  • I will work to end the default-proceed gun sale loophole. All background checks should be completed – and passed – before someone is allowed to possess a gun.

  • I also will work to close the gun show loophole where sales by private-party sellers to individuals are concerned.

  • I will work to close the “boyfriend loophole,” which allows an unmarried man to continue to own a firearm even if a woman has successfully sought and obtained a restraining order.

  • Lastly, I support Senator Diane Feinstein’s Assault Weapon Ban of 2017, which would ban military-style assault weapons, as well as magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Gwen Combs is a public school teacher in Little Rock, a U.S. Air Force veteran, wife and mother. Learn more about her background and position statements at her new website: www.combsforarkansas.com

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