Franken calls for medical record reviews, background checks, to stem gun violence


Courtesy of AP News

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Mike Franken grew up with a healthy amount of knowledge on firearms, which he supplemented through his military service.

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Mike Franken, Democratic candidate for Senate and former admiral in the Navy, is in favor of instructional classes and robust background checks to address gun violence, among other aggressive proposals the Sioux Citian says draw from his time in the military.

Franken, unlike many elected officials advocating gun policy, is deeply familiar and experienced with a range of firearms. He speaks about weapons with specificity.

“The United States military, by congressional order, sells surplus firearms to the civilian population,” Franken said. “To be a viable buyer, in that pool of buyers, you must go through a five-step certification plan.”

He wants to see the military model applied more broadly to private-sector gun sales.

By Franken’s model, inspired by methods seen in other countries, the aforementioned five-step process to acquire a firearm would include:

  • Two background checks

  • Time in a shooting range with an instructor

  • Education on firearm safety from an instructor

  • A review of medical records

“To the best of my knowledge, never has a firearm, bought through that process, been used in a mass shooting,” Franken said of the military sales to civilians. “Ever.”

Franken also proposed a method in which firearms would be made with unique identification casted into its body, with fingerprint protected trigger locks. He also said he is in favor of ammunition being unique and identifiable, based on which specific firearm is shooting it, as a method of tracing what specific gun shot what bullet.

“You are responsible for this firearm,” Franken said. “If you lose it, you’re gonna get charged — if your house gets broken into, and it gets taken out of your drawer, you’re held liable for that firearm, because your neglect led to its loss.”

Franken said unless the nation is willing to change gun laws, then the trends of violence will continue.

In regard to whether or not the confiscation of weapons from Americans is needed in any capacity to curb gun control, Franken said, “I won’t say that, but we’ve gotta change – if we don’t change it now, do we think it’ll be better five years from now?”

Franken said age is not the main issue when it comes to gun violence, and that raising the required age to acquire shotguns and rifles from 18 is unnecessary.

“If you’re not going to do an inspection and do a qualification plan, and look someone in the eye with a firearm, then age is not an issue – you’re making a mistake, period,” Franken said. “Because there will be someone who isn’t emotionally stable at 14, or 44.”

Franken added that gun violence is a fatal problem for American women.

“The No. 1 owner of firearms in the United States are men,” Franken said. “The No. 1 threat to a firearm owner is the owner himself, […] the second highest casualty? The love interest. Mostly women. Third? Family member or close friend. So the guy goes to the hoosegow [or prison], family member or family friend is dead — who’s left holding the bag? Her. This is a male problem.”