Every day, we travel to our schools, to our jobs, and through our communities. We need to care for our families, run our errands, and make sure we get to work on time. Our day to day challenges can seem small, but we all know how they can eat up a day. So when many of us have to consider our safety and the safety of our children, our days become that much harder, and our budgets become that much tighter (taking away from healthcare and education).
We all deserve to be able to go through our daily lives without having to worry about violence towards us or our children. And we all deserve to know that those we entrust to protect and serve us will work to ensure that all families get home safely.
So what does that mean?
Parents shouldn’t have to worry about what might happen when they drop their children off at school. We shouldn’t have to wonder whether concerts, shopping centers, places of worship and schools are where the next tragedy will occur. But recent events prove that we need a change. I believe in common-sense gun reforms, which include,
- Establishing red flag laws, like the one suggested by Governor Abbot, to remove weapons from those that have mental health conditions
- Increased penalties, civil and criminal, for the use of firearms by unauthorized users - just like those around car ownership
- Increased support and promotion of firearms with biometric locks - if your phone can open at a touch, so should your gun
- Establishing universal background checks
- Raising the firearm purchase age to 21
- Setting a tax on bullets to fund necessary investments in mental health services and local law enforcement
Texas has one of the highest incarceration rates per capita in the country (nearly 600 per 100,000) and the highest number of incarcerated people in the country (nearly 170,000). That is a profound human and economic tragedy. So many of our fellow Texans are held in prisons, paid for by taxpayers, for longer than is necessary to maintain public safety or to pay for their crimes. Once released, we make it hard, through our licensing laws and regulations to reintegrate these citizens back into our communities, as parents, business owners, and valued employees. Our system weakens families and wastes taxpayer dollars and needs to be changed.
One of the most basic jobs of our government is to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Our local communities work together on the premise of collective security: violence against one is violence against all. As citizens, we must know that law enforcement's first responsibility is to reduce violence and keep everyone in the community safe. Building trust between the community and police officers is key to working to make sure all of us can go home to our loved ones each night.
No one does a better job protecting our neighborhoods than one of our own. It also is a helpful reminder that ultimately the duty of law enforcement officials is to our local communities and our agendas, not anyone else's.
We can’t control the world around us, but we can make an impact on ourselves and those close to us. Combating violence in the community can start in our homes with spouses, partners and family members; in our police precincts; at schools between teachers and students; at work with our peers; and even towards ourselves. But communities can’t do this alone; this knowledge requires investing in education systems, creating diverse opportunities, and ensuring everyone has access to the healthcare and mental healthcare they need.