PRESS RELEASE: Archie Parnell Statement on Gun Violence

(Sumter, SC) - Democratic candidate for Congress Archie Parnell released the following statement today, following the February 14th shooting in Parkland, FL:

Last week's loss of life in Florida shook me to my core. I know that most of you, my friends and neighbors, have had similar deep soul-searching: Why? Why us? And how do we stop these horrors from happening over and over?

Even braced by faith and family, I don't know how any parent can face the loss of a child. For those that do, I have the utmost respect and deepest sympathy. 

The event in Parkland, Florida was no accident. It was a purposeful act of evil perpetrated by a single young man, a society that failed to stop him, and laws that allow him and others like him to legally wield terrifying destructive power. 

I cherish our history and our Constitution. The American tradition of individual gun ownership is deeply embedded in the fabric of our nation and sewn into the structure of its founding documents. While much has changed since the passage of our Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is the law of our land and one that I support.

However, just as the Constitution guaranteed Americans a certain set of rights, it charged Congress with the sole responsibility to regulate our commerce and our militia. That leaves Congress in charge of deciding how we ensure legal gun owners may do so, whether for self-defense or sport, while safeguarding innocent lives. 

I believe that we must do both.

First, universal, loophole-free background checks are supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans. Whether a weapon is sold at a gun store, a gun show, or between individuals, there can be no exceptions. This means fixing the provision that has become known as the Charleston Loophole.

Second, those with a history of domestic violence and those suffering from severe mental illness must not be permitted to own a firearm. This requires joint effort between many layers of authority, not just federal.  Those in the law enforcement community across the federal, state and local spectrum must be given the best tools to equip them to act efficiently.

Third, we must revisit the assault weapons ban that was permitted to expire after 10 years in 2004. Passed with bipartisan support, including that of two former Republican presidents and 46 Republicans in the House, the 1994 law allowed those who lawfully owned guns for personal protection and sport to continue to do so, while removing many of the most dangerous weapons from American streets. It is not a cure-all, and it will not stop every act of gun violence, but it will help reduce the terrible toll of shooting massacres like the one that took 17 innocent lives in Florida as well as so many others across our country.

As someone running for political office in a mostly rural district with a proud tradition of hunting and gun ownership, I am cognizant of the potential political cost of these words, however I cannot sit idly by. The truth is, hunters, sportsmen and those who sleep better at night because of a properly secured firearm have no reason to fear losing it. But this is about our children and their right to grow up.

I welcome your comments, I value your support, and I ask for your prayers for all those who have suffered at the hands of this scourge of violence.

- Archie Parnell


Press Contact:  Yates Baroody | | (202) 841-2048