|Ending Gun Violence by Popular Demand|
The great majority of Americans now want to move our country from the outskirts of civilization into the civilized world of nations that protect their children from assault weapons, limit the number of bullets that magazines can hold, perform background checks for every gun purchase, and routinely cover mental health in insurance plans. After our sadness and disgust, after our depression and despondency at the assassination of 26 kids and teachers, we are all culpable if we do not act this time. We did not act after 13 died in the mass shooting in Columbine in 1999. We took no action after 32 died at the hands of one gunman at Virginia Tech in 2007. We did nothing after Congresswoman Gabby Gifford was driven from the Congress after being shot at her Congress on Your Corner event in 2011, where six died. We did not move last year when a gunman shot-up a movie theater in Aurora Colorado, killing 12.
When the public is disengaged, Congress and the state legislatures get the message--do nothing. Not until the Million Mom March, did we get the assault weapons ban in 2004, and it will not be renewed without that kind of public insistence.
Newtown must be the last stop for the gun lobbies. We in the District of Columbia know them well. Even after our gun laws were revised and relaxed, they continue to attack our laws in court. Our citizens would have the right to vote on the House floor today but for a National Rifle Association amendment attached to the bill eliminating all gun laws in the nation’s capital.
We can end the gun lobby’s free ride of promoting guns and then pronouncing themselves innocent of the consequences. All that is needed is a worthy opponent. It comes down to us, we the people, who did not act before. We the people, in the names of Newtown and of all of our children and adults who have died because of gun violence, we the people, who did not step forward --this time, we are stepping up and stepping forward and-- unlike before-- this time we will not turn back.
Published: January 30, 2013