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I’m a gun owner. I believe in the right to bear arms responsibly. But as our children continue to be massacred at school, I also know it’s time to take action. We have had too many gun massacres in America.

The National Rifle Association’s extreme positions do not represent the views of responsible gun owners like me. They too often refuse to seek common ground on policies that might prevent mass shootings. And they have U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte firmly in their pocket, to the tune of $344,630 in direct contributions as well as indirect support to his campaign.

In the Montana Legislature, I voted against bills that would have deregulated guns on college campuses and allowed people to carry guns in all bars, restaurants and churches. In Congress, I will work with anyone to pass common-sense reforms that address escalating mass gun violence.

My family owns shotguns and rifles, but we’ve never felt the need to buy an AR-15. High-capacity magazines and military-style assault rifles need to be confined to controlled environments, like machine guns are today. In Congress, I will support assault weapon controls designed to keep military-style weapons off our streets while protecting responsible owners such as antique collectors and sportsmen. We also must regulate bump stocks, like the ones found on the scene in Las Vegas last year. Even the NRA has shown some willingness to work on that.

These mass shootings often have a tragic connection to mental health. Sadly, our mental health system is failing many Americans due to high costs and draconian budget cuts. My top priority in Congress will be to lower healthcare costs and expand access to quality care. We need to ensure that mental health is an integral part of the conversation when we talk about expanding health care.

My heart is heavy today thinking of the victims in Florida and their families. Enough is enough. Parents need to be able to send their kids to school and know that they will come home again. In D.C. I will work on policies to protect Americans from gun massacres. If the NRA wants to give me an “F” for that, then I will proudly say that it stands for “fearless.”

Kathleen Williams of Bozeman, a Democrat, is running for the U.S. House of Representatives. 


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