Preventing Gun Violence


As a former officer in the U.S. Army, Senator Reed has great respect for firearms and responsible gun ownership.

Yet as America continues to experience horrific and senseless gun violence, Senator Reed believes we absolutely must do more to reduce gun-related crimes that shatter the lives of too many innocent Americans.  He supports improving background checks, cracking down on gun trafficking, and passing common sense gun safety laws that help reduce gun violence and make our communities safer.  Senator Reed has authored legislation to close loopholes that allow potentially dangerous people, such as convicted felons and individuals with a history of severe mental instability, to purchase firearms. 

The tragic mass shootings we continue to see at schools and other public settings across the country show that more work must be done.  In addition to strengthening our gun laws, we must also address the mental and behavioral health of children and young adults before they hurt themselves and others.  Too many Americans with treatable mental illnesses do not get the help they need. 

Senator Reed has long been a strong proponent of improving the nation’s mental health care system, working to ensure that individuals with mental and behavioral disorders have access to the treatment they need.  Reed introduced the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Reauthorization, which would authorize funding for youth suicide prevention efforts.  He is also an original cosponsor of the Mental Health First Aid Act, which would authorize funding to train personnel on the front lines, like police officers and teachers, on how to help individuals in need.

Senator Reed is a cosponsor of the Assault Weapons Ban, which would prohibit the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.  Over the years, he has also introduced or cosponsored legislation to close loopholes in our background check system; make it illegal for those on the FBI terror watch list to buy a gun; and end the ban on gun violence research at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Key Priorities & Accomplishments

  • Reed supports legislation to improve gun safety and has voted to ban assault weapons.  He has also advocated for the need to put stricter limits on high-capacity ammunition clips, armor-piercing bullets, and on the online sale of ammunition.
  • Reed secured $1 million in funding for the Providence Police Department’s Gun Violence and Gang Reduction Initiative to expand intervention efforts that specifically address gun-related violence and gang activity occurring in the city.
  • To address the threat of guns falling into the wrong hands, Reed has supported efforts to more effectively bar firearm and explosive purchases by individuals who are on terrorist watch lists and to improve gun tracing from crime scenes.     
  • When the Senate considered legislation offering the gun industry immunity from lawsuits, Senator Reed led the opposition, speaking out on behalf of the victims of gun violence. 
  • Reed authored a successful amendment with Senator John McCain to close loopholes that allow terrorists and criminals to buy firearms at gun shows without the same type of background checks required when guns are purchased from a licensed dealer. 

Read more by visiting Senator Reed's Working for RI page.