Our Pattern of Doing Nothing Must End

In the month since Las Vegas, Congress has done nothing to address gun safety. In the year and a half since Orlando, Congress has done nothing. In the two years since San Bernardino, Congress has done nothing. In the five years since Sandy Hook, Congress has again done nothing.

And now we are facing yet another massacre of 26 people, including children, in a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church yesterday. No community should ever face this kind of tragedy, and yet this horror has become a regular occurrence in America. How many more unimaginable tragedies do Republicans in Congress need to witness before they are inspired to pass common-sense gun safety legislation and end this epidemic of senseless slaughter? The time is long, long past for us to put the lives of children and innocent Americans over the interests of the NRA’s corporate backers.

There are very concrete steps we can take to lessen the number of tragedies, including ideas supported by the vast majority of gun owners.

We must strengthen and better enforce the instant background check system so that guns are not being sold to people who should not have them.

We need to end the gun show loophole which allows individuals to avoid instant background checks.

We must address the “straw man” situation where people may be buying guns legally but are reselling them to criminals. These are not radical ideas. They are supported by a strong majority of gun owners and non-gun owners.

Further, we should ban the civilian sale of semiautomatic assault-type weapons. This will not prevent every attack, but it will certainly decrease the number of casualties. The 1994 ban on such weapons should be reinstated.

Finally, we must greatly expand and improve our mental health capabilities so individuals and families can get the psychological help they need when they need it. President Trump has stated that he believed that “mental health” was the problem with the Sutherland Springs shooter. That certainly could be part of what happened. Why then, however, is Trump supporting a $1 trillion cut to Medicaid, the program which provides mental health counseling for millions.

The bottom line is that our pattern of doing nothing must end. Gun violence in America is a major crisis which must be addressed.

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