Gun Violence Prevention

As a former prosecutor whose father is a retired police officer and whose two younger brothers currently serve in law enforcement, I have witnessed first-hand the damage guns cause. Our whole nation has seen too many mass shootings in cities from Newtown, to Aurora, to Tucson, to Orlando; too many cities see deadly gun violence every day. It is time to act to prevent this type of violence - if we fail to act, nothing will change.

At the same time, I am the son and brother of hunters and gun owners. I know that guns can be used responsibly and the Second Amendment provides individuals certain rights to own firearms.

I support commonsense reforms to prevent gun violence and make Americans safer. We must keep dangerous weapons off of our streets, improve our background check system, make sure the mentally ill receive the treatment they need, and provide schools the required resources to keep our children secure. We can’t take hatred out of hearts, but we can do more to keep deadly weapons out of hateful hands.

To keep these weapons of war out of our communities, I support banning the manufacture, import, sale, and possession of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons and high capacity magazines (i.e., hold more than 10 rounds).  We should buy back such weapons from all who choose to abide by the new law, and anyone found to be in possession of such a weapon after the buyback period has elapsed would be in violation and subject to prosecution. The ban would not apply to law enforcement agencies or hunting/shooting clubs. Read more about more about my proposal in my USA Today op-ed.

What I am Doing for You

I authored H.R. 1441, the No Guns for Abusers Act, to make it easier to take guns away from domestic abusers. The risk of intimate partner homicide is five times greater if an abuser has access to a firearm. My bill would require the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to report to Congress on the best practices that jurisdictions should use to require anyone charged with or convicted of a domestic violence crime, or subject to a domestic violence protective order, to relinquish all their firearms. The Attorney General would be authorized to award grants to jurisdictions which already have or adopt programs substantially similar to the best practices identified in the NIJ report. And the bill would require the Attorney General to propose federal legislation and adopt rules, policies and practices consistent with those best practices. (I previously introduced this as H.R. 6629 in the 115th Congress and as H.R. 1287 in the 116th Congress.)

I co-authored the bipartisan H.R. 1769, the NICS Denial Notification Act, with Reps. Mike Quigley (D-IL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL). The bill would require federal authorities to alert state and local law enforcement within 24 hours when an ineligible individual lies on a background check and tries to purchase a firearm, which can be a warning sign of future criminal behavior.

I cosponsored and voted for, and the House passed, H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021. This bill would expand the federal background check system to cover all firearm sales, including those at gun shows, over the internet, or in classified ads, while also incentivizing states to provide more accurate and complete information to the national background check database. 

I cosponsored and voted for, and the House passed, H.R. 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021. This bill would close the "Charleston loophole," a gap in federal law that lets gun sales proceed without a completed background check if three businesses days have passed.

I'm an original cosponsor of H.R. 1808, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021, to ban certain assault weapons and high capacity magazines, stemming the tide of weapons of war to our schools and communities. (I co-sponsored this as H.R. 1296 in the 116th Congress, H.R. 5087 in the 115th Congress, H.R. 4269 in the 114th Congress, and H.R. 437 in the 113th Congress.)

I'm an original cosponsor of H.R. 1454, the Ghost Guns Are Guns Act, to amend federal law's definition of firearms to include firearm assembly kits, closing the "ghost guns” loophole which lets buyers avoid federal background checks by buying unassembled firearms online.  

I'm an original cosponsor of H.R. 3088, the Untraceable Firearms Act of 2021, to close the ghost gun loophole by amending the existing definition of “firearm” under federal law to include gun kits and partial receivers and by changing the definition of “manufacturing firearms” to include assembling firearms using 3D printing technology.

I'm an original cosponsor of H.R. 2466, the Law Enforcement Protection Act, to add armor-piercing, concealable weapons as a category under the National Firearms Act (NFA). Possession of NFA-regulated firearms requires a background check, submission of photo identification and fingerprints, and registration of the firearm with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  Transfers and sales of such firearms must be approved by the ATF.

I'm an original cosponsor of H.R. 1477, the Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act, to prohibit the possession of any firearm that is undetectable by airport-level detection devices. The bill requires any firearm with all of its major components attached to generate a gun-shaped image in the detection systems.

I'm an original cosponsor of H.R. 881, the Recognizing Gun Violence as a Public Health Act, to require the Surgeon General to submit to Congress an annual report on the public health impacts of gun violence on our communities. The report would collect data on the deaths, disabilities, mental health ailments or economic hardships stemming from gun violence. It would provide the public and policymakers with research-based information to make informed decisions on how best to protect Americans from these dangers. 

I'm an original cosponsor of H.R. 2814, the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, to ensure that the gun industry - including manufacturers, sellers and interest groups - is not shielded from liability when it acts with negligence and disregard for public safety. The bill would repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, effectively giving victims of gun violence their day in civil court. 

I'm an original cosponsor of H.R. 2715, the Ammunition Background Check Act of 2021, known as Jaime’s Law, to require instant background checks to prevent criminals from illegally purchasing ammunition.

I'm an orginal cosponsor of H.R. 3929, the Disarm Hate Act, to prohibit those convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from buying or possessing firearms. 

I cosponsored H.R. 2510, the Keep Americans Safe Act, to ban the importation, sale, manufacturing, transfer, or possession of gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. These high-capacity magazines are designed for shooting and killing en masse and have been the accessory of choice in some of the bloodiest mass shootings in America.

I cosponsored H.R. 2377, the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act. Extreme risk laws—also called “red flag laws”—empower loved ones and law enforcement to ensure that those who pose a threat to themselves or others do not have access to firearms.

I cosponsored H.R. 748, Ethan's Law, to create federal requirements for safe gun storage and establish strong penalties for any violations. The bill would require gun owners to secure their firearms in a “secure gun storage or safety device” if a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without permission, or if a resident of the dwelling cannot legally possess a firearm; it also includes incentives for states to pass, and enforce their own safe gun storage laws. The bill is named in honor of Ethan Song, a teenager from Guilford, CT, who died January 31, 2018 after accidentally shooting himself with an unsecured gun in a neighbor’s home.

I cosponsored H.R. 825, the Gun Violence Prevention Research Act of 2021, to authorize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct or support research on firearms safety or gun violence prevention. (I co-sponsored the similar H.R. 435, the National Gun Violence Research Act, in the 116th Congress.)

I cosponsored H.R. 2971, the Foreign National Firearms Background Check Enhancement Act, a bipartisan bill to require that all foreign nationals in the United States receive prior approval from the Attorney General before purchasing or possessing a firearm.


In the 116th Congress:

My colleagues and I on the House Judiciary Committee held the first hearing on gun violence prevention in nearly a decade.

To address the tragic epidemic of mass shootings our country has witnessed, in 2019 I introduced H.R. 2959, the Freedom from Assault Weapons Act. This bill would ban certain assault weapons and ban high capacity feeding devices. The bans would apply to all current and future assault weapons and devices, providing a multi-year grace period during which the government would buy them back from people at market rates.

More on Gun Violence Prevention

March 10, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), and Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) reintroduced gun safety legislation that will help states enforce existing laws against individuals who attempt to purchase firearms but have no legal right to do so.

February 26, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON DC - Today, Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) re-introduced the No Guns for Abusers Act to protect victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence remains a persistent threat to many Americans––particularly women––and firearm ownership can often escalate abuse and turn deadly. The risk of intimate partner homicide is five times greater if an abuser has access to a firearm. 

March 5, 2020 Press Release

UPDATE MARCH 11, 2020: Out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of public health, a decision has been made to POSTPONE this Community Forum on Gun Safety.