Courage and Action

Original posting by: Dean Phillips, posted on Medium.com, October 6, 2017

Thoughts and prayers are needed in these times, but we need more from our elected leaders. We need courage — and we need action.

I don’t profess to have all the answers when it comes to addressing our country’s gun violence crisis, or preventing incidents like the one in Las Vegas. Still, there are commonsense measures I believe that we could take that would at least represent a start:

First, we need to protect and strengthen laws aimed at keeping deadly weapons out of the hands of potential terrorists, violent criminals, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill. Instead, Congress refuses to pass legislation to bar people on the no-fly list from purchasing guns, and recently passed a bill rolling back a measure aimed at keeping guns away from people who are more likely to have violent intentions. Why?

Second, it’s time to close the gun show loophole and ensure background checks on all gun purchases. This has support from 77% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats. It may not prevent every incident of gun violence, but it is a commonsense idea that should pass easily. Instead, it has yet to come to a vote. Why?

Finally, we must follow the American Medical Association’s lead and declare gun violence a national health and public safety crisis. We are averaging nearly one mass shooting every single day in this country — 273 this year so far. There have been over 1,500 mass shootings since Sandy Hook. And yet, Congress refuses to overturn a law that prevents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from researching the causes and potential remedies. Why?

Each of these are commonsense measures that have broad and bipartisan public support. They would not infringe on any law-abiding American’s 2nd Amendment rights — which I recognize and support. Yet each of them are opposed by the gun lobby in Washington, D.C. And our elected leaders in Congress — many of whom benefit greatly from contributions by the NRA — lack the courage to stand up and say enough is enough.

I believe that the voices of millions of Americans calling for commonsense gun safety measures are more powerful than the gun lobby’s money and threats. We just need to send representatives to Congress who are more concerned with the interests of the people they were sent to represent than the special interests in Washington. We don’t have that right now — but you will if I have the honor of representing you in Congress.

Change starts with us. And something needs to change.

Click here for the original posting.