Floored. Pissed. Dumbfounded.
That’s how I felt this afternoon when I learned that the senate failed to pass legislation that would expand background checks on all gun purchases. I have to say that I’m a moderate that leans conservative on most issues, however, when it comes to the well-being of civilization as a whole, common sense knows no political boundaries. I was actually very excited to “get my liberal on” in the name of child safety and have been a little disappointed. Harry Reid a No? Really?
“Gun violence is one of the single greatest public health threats to children in this country.”
– American Academy of Pediatrics
Apparently grieving families, public opinion polls, scientific evidence and a plea by the nation’s pediatricians aren’t even enough to convince the majority of United States Senators that stricter gun control laws need to be passed in this country.
And, while I’m disappointed, there was a minor victory in this whole political debacle.
A grassroots organization by the name of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America, motivated me to not be a political couch potato. The group was formed by a local mom, Shannon Watts, the day after the Sandyhook Elementary shooting occurred. This group has grown from a simple Facebook page to over 100,000 members and over 40 chapters.
These parents are working tirelessly alongside many relatives of gun violence victims to send a very loud and clear message that they demand common sense gun control solutions.
I began following the group on Facebook and Twitter with some solace and relief that stricter gun control laws would likely be passed. Afterall, it’s just plain common sense that our country would want to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. It was a slam dunk. So as a member with lurker tendancies, I’d retweet a few facts and figures thinking I was doing my part.
A day prior to a vote on the expanded backgound checks issue, I received an urgent email from Moms Demand Action listing specific names of Senators that were undecided or voting “No,” and I noticed Indiana Senators Joe Donnelly and Dan Coates on the list. Being a former Arizona resident, I also noticed John McCain’s name on the list. So, I decided to write them each a letter which you can do with ease on the Moms Demand Action Web site.
Here’s the letter I wrote:
Dear Senator Coats,
I am writing to urge you to reconsider your decision to join a Group of lawmakers who vow to “oppose any legislation that would infringe on the American people’s constitutional right to bear arms.”
I, like thousands of other parents across the country, demand action for gun sense in America. And by the term “gun sense,” I mean common sense.
There is absolutely NO reason any civilian needs an automatic assault weapon to protect themselves and their property or for recreational use.
There is absolutely NO reason any civilian needs ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
There is absolutely NO reason background checks should not be required for all gun and ammunition purchases.
There is absolutely NO reason the sale of large quantities of ammunition should not be reported to the ATF, and No reason online sales of ammunition should not be banned.
These are common sense solutions to a gun violence epidemic in this country. These suggested common sense legislative changes are in NO way preventing any U.S. citizen from arming themselves. There are plenty of “gun” choices on the market that don’t involve shooting off 500 rounds of ammunition per minute. So many lives could have been saved had these laws been in place.
Unfortunately, it is not fear that is driving these gun owners to use the Second Amendment as their security blanket, they are merely throwing temper-tantrums because their toys are at risk of being taken away. It’s a semantics issue, and a safety issue, not a right to bear arms issue.
I never thought I would advocate government legislation of common sense, however, the lack of action on gun safety in America has driven me to write this letter.
Thank you for your service, and again, I implore you to change your position on this issue.
I’d like to think that exercising my First Amendment rights was responsible for a small victory that Senators McCain and Donnelly voted “Yes” in favor of the expanded background checks. Unfortunately, Senator Coats did not. Here’s a link to the full vote if you’d like to see how your Senator voted.
Some of the best arguments I’ve read for common sense gun control solutions are not found in The New York Times or The Washington Post, rather in the blogs below written by “your average WordPress citizen at large.”
I have to say that the chatter among mommy bloggers has been relatively silent on this issue. Maybe it’s burnout from the Presidential election, fear of speaking up or not completely understanding the issue.
I’d like to challenge all those moms who pontificated endlessly about women in binders and reproductive rights to do some blogging in favor of common sense gun control.
The American Academy of Pediatrics ended their statement on the failure to pass gun violence legislation with the following,
“Pediatricians urge our elected leaders in Congress to find the courage to start again, to allow science to prevail over politics, and to do right by our children.”
I encourage moms, dads, aunts, uncles and grandparents to do the same.