Last year alone, 13,473 people were killed by guns in non-suicides in the United States. That's almost 37 people every day and more than one person every hour. Simply put: We are experiencing an epidemic of gun violence and there are no excuses for Congress' continued inaction.
In the Senate, I'll fight to take on the gun lobby every day - not just sometimes - to keep innocent Pennsylvanians safe from gun violence.
Now, growing up as the daughter of a police officer in a family of hunters and sportsmen, I know firsthand that gun ownership is an important part of life for many Pennsylvanians. I also know that gun-owning families like mine are ready to see their elected leaders finally pass commonsense gun-safety proposals that take weapons of war off our streets and keep guns out of dangerous hands.
I am committed to ending the scourge of gun violence across our country, and I'm proud to have earned the endorsements of leading gun-safety organizations, including CeaseFire Pennsylvania. With their help, and the help of millions of Pennsylvanians who have made their voices in the fight to end gun violence heard, I'm confident we can push commonsense safety reforms through to the finish line.
To begin, we must work to close what's known as the "terror loophole." Today, a terror suspect on the FBI watch list cannot board a commercial flight, but he can purchase firearms and explosives. This defies reason; if you are too dangerous to fly, you are too dangerous to buy. Closing the terror loophole is a must-do priority that I'll be proud to help accomplish.
There's also no reason why an individual looking to purchase a gun shouldn't be subject to a basic background check. In the Senate, I'll fight on behalf of the 90 percent of Americans who agree, and we'll require universal background checks for all gun purchases in the United States.
I'll also support efforts to keep military-style weapons off our streets. Assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, and armor-piercing bullets have no place in our communities, where they pose a grave risk to civilians and to police officers like my late dad, who put their lives on the line every day.
I'll also be proud to stand with our senior senator, Bob Casey, in fighting to pass the Hate Crimes Prevention Act - a bill introduced in the wake of the hate-driven shootings in Charleston and Orlando that would prohibit someone who has committed a hate crime from buying a gun.
As the epidemic of gun violence claims a growing number of innocent lives, the need for commonsense gun-safety measures has become clearer than ever. We need to take a careful look at the causes and spread of gun violence, and we need to research and develop the most effective, science-based solutions to confront it. That means we need to repeal the decades-old amendment that has restricted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from funding any research into gun violence - an amendment so flawed that the man who sponsored it has even publicly requested that Congress repeal it.
Gun violence touches all of our lives: parents, children, friends, and neighbors. Pennsylvanians are calling for an end to this epidemic, and their voices deserve to be heard. I will work every day to make their voices heard loud and clear.