Tom MacArthur seeks tougher background checks for gun owners
The Parkland, Florida shooting and threats of harm to others at schools in New Jersey have once again reignited the debate over gun control.
Shore Congressman Tom MacArthur has hatched a plan to prevent any more tragedies.
MacArthur told WOBM News that what's needed most are stricter background checks so people as unstable as Nikolas Cruz never get their hands on a gun.
"He was known to be unstable, the police and sheriff had been at his home 39-times over 7-years," MacArthur said. "There were a lot of red flags and he never should have gotten a gun period."
"I am going to call on the attorney general to help the state's to fix this so that we have robust background checks in every state and that the federal background check system is beefed up," MacArthur said.
The current background check system is broken, MacArthur says, because it doesn't cover every gun transfer and there's not enough resources available.
"The federal background system needs to be adequately resourced so that people who are raising red flags, have a history of criminal activity or mental health issues don't get guns," MacArthur said.
He says these crimes can happen anywhere and be committed by anyone.
"There is no profile that can make it crystal clear who the next shooter is, that's why it's so critical that thorough background checks are done locally and then a national system is done to coordinate data from all the different states," MacArthur said.
He also feels the federal government should provide grants to schools to help with security efforts to prevent a tragedy from happening there.
"I think we need to help our schools become safer places," MacArthur said. "They are a soft target. Our schools are less secure than our banks and I think the federal government really needs to look at helping local communities."
MacArthur says there also needs to be a focus on getting guns off the streets through buyback programs.
"Right now about 40-percent of gun sales take place outside of federally licensed firearm dealers," MacArthur said.
He says there also needs to be stricter background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun so that every time it gets transferred it'll be checked first.
"We need to get illegal weapons off our streets with increased gun buyback programs and targeted, well-funded law enforcement efforts to target illegal weapons," MacArthur said.
He says there also needs to be more thorough background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun, but adds that law abiding-mentally sound citizens have a right to bear arms.
"The answer is to keep guns out of the hands of those who are a danger to themselves and others," MacArthur said. "It is not to just vilify everyone who has a gun or to say they don't have a right or need a gun."
He says the federal government also needs to take a deeper look into the root of gun violence in America.
MacArthur also suggests creating a national pilot program to address mental health concerns.
“We must do more to empower our teachers, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officers, who spend more time with our children than anyone. They see things that others may not see and often have their hands tied by endless red-tape," MacArthur said. "We need to empower these professionals, which can be done by launching a national pilot of the On P.O.I.N.T. program, which is seeing tremendous success in Stafford Township. This program partners law enforcement with social workers to help provide mental health services to individuals who need it. This program is working in our district and it will work nationwide.”
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