February 22, 2018 Blog

We must act to stop the gun violence epidemic

The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. Once a name given to the 1929 murder of seven men of the North Side gang in Chicago during the Prohibition Era, it can now be applied to the Parkland, Florida school shooting where 17 people died in a barrage of bullets.

And ten years ago, it could have been applied to the mass shooting at Northern Illinois University.

 

Our country must act.  

 

It is time to recognize that the 2nd Amendment and common-sense gun policies are not mutually exclusive.

It is time for Congress to have the courage to stand up against the NRA and to stand for the people in this nation who live in the fear that their child and child’s teacher … their spouse … their loved one … will be the next victim of the carnage of gun violence that is ravaging our country.

As a country, we can be better than this. We must be better than this.

In our schools. At community concerts. In our cars, in our homes, and on our streets.

There is no refuge, no safety.

Gun violence is an epidemic in this country, and it is time to treat it as one.

As a critical first step, we need to amend the Dickey Amendment, which bars the use of funding at the Department of Health and Human Services to advocate gun prevention, to clarify that funds may be used to study gun violence.

We need to study gun violence and the best ways to address it in a comprehensive manner — not through an array of individual, piecemeal proposals that seem to come on the heels of each tragedy.

We need policies that will prevent these tragedies from happening.

We need to put it all on the table. Background checks on all gun sales. Prohibiting domestic abusers from possessing firearms. Banning bump stocks, assault rifles and high capacity magazines. Waiting periods. Empowering family members to proactively protect loved ones by petitioning a court to temporarily remove guns during a severe mental health crisis.

We need to put forth a comprehensive proposal to tackle the serious issue of gun violence in this country.

Most important, we need to discuss it rationally, and treat it like the national crisis that it has become.

Our lives depend on it.