Jones calls for background checks, gun studies


U.S. Sen. Doug Jones said he is a hunter and wants to protect Second Amendment rights, but noted he would like background checks with exceptions and  funding for federal studies for a broad range of gun violence, including suicides. 

Jones, who is in the state during the Congress' two-week congressional break, came to the Daily Mountain Eagle Monday for multi-media interviews over its print, YouTube and podcast formats. The YouTube interview will also be linked to its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

On reducing gun violence, Jones said the nation loses 100 people a day, or about 39,000 a year, to gun violence, ranging from suicide to mass shootings. "I think we need to be looking at a much broader issue of reducing the number of people who die when a gun discharges," he said. 

Jones said people would like to see expanded background checks, which would still have exclusions for family members and people with long associations. 

"There is no reason why if you went to a gun show and you buy from a dealer, that you go through a background check, but if you go next door to a guy who has a tableful of guns in a box but simply has a sign who says, 'private seller,' he doesn't have to do any background check," he said. 

Jones also pointed to extreme risk laws, "where someone, if they see a problem with an individual and they have legitimate fear for that person's safety or for the community safety ... they can go to a neutral detached magistrate. You are not just going to be able to walk up and have this person's guns taken away. You have to go through a due process. I think those have become something that can reduce lives."

He also said for more than 40 years the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been prohibited by federal law from studying gun violence. 

"They study everything else in the book, everything that causes death," he said. 

The provision was removed last year and he wants to fund the CDC to carry out such as study, which would also address suicide. He said 24,000 of the 39,000 die from suicides. 

Jones said he would want to take the actions while still protecting Second Amendment rights.

"I like to hunt. I just like to shoot," Jones said. "My son and I, we have any number of guns in our home and in my safe, which I keep locked up. So I enjoy that. I understand that part of Southern culture. I think there are ways we can do things to save lives that doesn't infringe on that."