Congress allows America to get away with murder. There is no other way to put it. It is as if they know there is a cure for cancer – or at least a partial cure – and they refuse to release the “cure.” Their political war chests brim with money from the NRA to keep them silent, or, worse, to keep them vocal about their interpretation of our Second Amendment rights. Right to own an AK-47, a weapon of war precisely designed to kill as many people in as short a time as possible. Right to own a gun without a background check. Right to own a gun even if a person is a convicted felon or domestic violence abuser. Congressional voices are loud and clear.
But 20 children in Newtown no longer have a voice, nor 32 young people from Virginia Tech, nor 12 people in a movie theatre in Aurora, CO, nor nine during a bible study in Charleston. And now, just two days ago, 59 voices in Las Vegas were silenced. Forever.
But the silence is painfully larger. Roughly 11,700 to date this year – one here, two there – have lost their voices to gun violence. Add suicides by guns and the number exceeds 30,000.
Members of Congress will be vocal: they will utter prayers and make public their support for grieving families while at the same time taking money from the NRA to allow the carnage to continue.
Congress protects us… when it wants to:
- Cars with defective brakes have been recalled.
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) triggered the recall and redesign of cribs.
- Tainted spinach, which caused a handful of deaths and sickened many, was immediately pulled from the shelves.
- Seat belts and air bags, now required, have saved thousands of lives.
All laudable policy actions. But not so with the real killer, guns, the glaringly evident toxin in our nation’s civic blood stream.
In spite of fierce opposition from the NRA, some states which have enacted even modest gun laws have recorded fewer gun deaths. California with the strongest gun laws in the nation has reduced firearm mortality rates an astonishing 56% between 1993 and 2010. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy points out that its gun measures produced a 40% reduction in gun crimes.
Thousands of voices have been silenced, but you still have a voice. Use it to elect state house and congressional representatives who support sensible gun laws. In the gubernatorial race in my own state of Virginia, Ralph Northam, a doctor with an “F” rating from the NRA, is pitted against Ed Gillespie, who boasts an “A” rating from the NRA and supports laws to allow guns in state government buildings. Gillespie’s response to the Las Vegas shootings? “Thoughts and prayers.” Kathleen Murphy, who lost a brother to gun violence, and who advocates for commonsense gun violence prevention measures, campaigns for re-election as a state delegate here in Northern Virginia.
Use your voice to oppose HR 3668, a bill now before Congress that would deregulate silencers and suppressors (highly regulated since 1934), and would put all of us in danger, as it makes locating the source of shooting difficult to pinpoint during the commission of a crime. Use your voice to oppose S 446, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, that would require all states to recognize gun carry permits from any other state. It would handcuff law enforcement in states with stronger gun laws and render them helpless to take their own precautions to prevent dangerous people from carrying guns. This reckless bill is the gun lobby’s top policy priority.
If it’s money that closes lips, shuts down morality and self-righteously condones the deaths of more than 30,000 Americans by guns per year, then it’s time for massive, class-action law suits against the manufacturers of these weapons, against the casino that allowed an arsenal of 23 guns into its hotel rooms, against states that will not allow local jurisdictions to pass their own gun violence reduction laws, against the NRA and even, yes, against Congress.
Congress has a cure. They are withholding it. They are supposed to protect us. They aren’t. They are complicit.