Where are we heading as a country? How did we evolve into a place where gun manufacturers care more about their profits than about the safety of their fellow citizens; where the NRA cares more about their power to influence legislation than about their responsibility for the safety of others; where legislators care more about their re-election than they do the lives of their constituents; and where private citizens are so intimidated by the gun culture that they are afraid to speak out?
Nicholas D. Kristof wrote in his New York Times column today, “The fundamental reason kids are dying in massacres like this one is not that we have lunatics or criminals — all countries have them — but that we suffer from a political failure to regulate guns.” We could begin to correct this problem by reinstating the federal ban on the manufacture of assault weapons, which was allowed to lapse in 2004. The 10-year ban was passed by Congress on September 13, 1994, and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton the same day. There have been multiple attempts to renew the ban, but no bill has reached the floor of either House of Congress for a vote since it lapsed.
In the same publication, columnist Gail Collins wrote, “This is all about guns — access to guns and the ever-increasing firepower of guns. Over the past few years we’ve seen one shooting after another in which the killer was wielding weapons holding 30, 50, 100 bullets. I’m tired of hearing fellow citizens argue that you need that kind of firepower because it’s a pain to reload when you’re shooting clay pigeons. Or that the founding fathers specifically wanted to make sure Americans retained their right to carry rifles capable of mowing down dozens of people in a couple of minutes.”
So, where do we go from here? It’s time to speak out and stand up for reasonable gun laws. One person’s protest is just like a drop of water in the ocean, but if thousands or millions of people speak out, that drop becomes a wave. You can talk to your friends and neighbors and get them involved. You can write to your State Representatives, your State Senators, your Representatives in Congress, your US Senators. You can send letters to the editor of your local newspaper. You can get information from such groups as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns. You can send a message to the President about the importance of beginning to deal the problem with gun violence by signing the petition at the address below.
If you believe that nothing is more important than saving American lives, it’s time to make waves.