U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards is a 2016 candidate for the U.S. Senate. (AFRO File Photo)

U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) is running for the Democratic nomination to become her state’s next U.S. senator. She has made fighting gun violence and restricting the easy availability of firearms integral parts of her platform.

“I was very frustrated that when the horrible murders that took place in Charleston in June, the House of Representatives gathered together only for a moment of silence in recognition of it,” Edwards said in reference to the June 17th killing of nine Blacks at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. “We, in the House, need to do something real like pass gun control legislation instead of just having a moment of silence when something happens.”

Statistics on the website of Heeding God’s Call (, a national anti-gun violence organization, report that more than 30,000 people are killed each year by gun violence and that 30 people are shot and murdered throughout the country each day. The website also states that 50 percent of those shot or murdered are between the ages of 18 and 35 and that homicide is the chief cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24. The website said homicide by gun violence is the chief cause of death among Blacks 15-24 years old.

Edwards believes there should be an extensive, law enforcement-based background check for anyone who wants to buy a firearm and that weapons, such as AK-47s and other machine guns, should not be available to the general public. The representative also thinks gun shows and Internet purchases of firearms should be heavily regulated.

However, she supports guns for hunting animals as a sport and collecting guns as a hobby.

In Maryland, there is fingerprint licensing of handgun purchasers, and guns sellers and dealers must go through a series of background checks to conduct business.

Maryland was praised by the pro-gun control organization, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, on March 12 as having the seventh best violence prevention laws in the nation, because of the passage of the Fire Arms Safety Act of 2013 that mandated the fingerprint requirement.

Edwards said one of the main reasons there are so many guns circulating throughout the country is the advocacy and impact of the National Rifle Association, the nation’s leading advocate for gun owners and a powerful lobbying organization on Capitol Hill. “I am taking a stand against the NRA,” the representative said. “I am not against the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that citizens should have the right to bear arms, but I think there should be some sort of regulation on who possesses guns.”

Edwards said that people who are deemed to be mentally unstable, domestic violence abusers, and convicted murderers shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun.

The political arm of the NRA, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, grades members of the House and the Senate in relation gun ownership issues. The fund has given Edwards an “F” but the Brady Campaign gives Edwards a “100” percent score during her years in Congress.

Amy Hunter, a spokeswoman for the NRA, Institute for Legislative Action responded to Edwards’ position on gun control by saying “what gun control proponents consistently miss is that Americans don’t want more gun control.”

“Poll after poll shows this, as do elections-the ultimate poll,” Hunter continued. “A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 52 percent of people say that gun rights are more important than gun control. Last year, Maryland provided a good example of this, in which a solidly blue state with some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation elected pro-gun Larry Hogan as governor.”

Hunter said that “Hogan was directly attacked by his opponent for his NRA endorsement, and yet he won.”

“It’s obvious that gun control doesn’t stop criminals,” she said. “Baltimore has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation and yet has one of the highest crime rates.”

James Dula, the president of the South County Democratic Club in Prince George’s County, agrees with Edwards that there needs to be more gun regulation nationally. “We are living in a time of domestic terrorism,” Dula said.

He said that congressional action on regulating guns is unlikely “because the Republicans in the House and the Senate don’t want to upset the NRA.”

He said that gun violence has become too commonplace in our society. “There is a rise in homicides in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.,” he said. “We have young people killing young people and that needs to stop. In addition to focusing on guns, the congresswoman should prod her Republican colleagues to help young Black men get jobs and fight poverty.”