17 American children were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida yesterday. America has become numb to these tragedies, and it brought up memories for me of 1999. I was born in Congressional District 1 and on a spring day in 1999 I was walking through the halls of my high school when a friend walked up to me and asked, “Did you hear about the shooting at Columbine High School?” I had been in class all day and I remember I was focused on a history exam coming up later in the day so I didn’t engage the conversation further until I walked into my next class and I saw my English teacher, Ms. Simons, sobbing in front of the class. Her face red and distorted with pain and anguish, but she pushed the words out and that day would be forever seared into my mind.
Fifteen people died at Columbine in 1999, and nearly 20 years later our children are still not safe to go to school. So far in 2018, there have been 18 shootings at America’s schools. This is happening at a time when 64% of Americans support stricter gun laws, according to an October 2017 Politico poll. However, GOP currently controls the House and the Senate, and they clearly align themselves with gun lobbyists who do not want to see any sort of shift in America’s gun policy. Additionally, our President has rolled back one of the most common-sense gun control policies – not allowing those with documented mental illness to buy a gun. They hide in philosophical arguments about the 2nd Amendment while stirring up their base with conspiracy theories that the government is going to come to your door to demand your firearms.
Our Democratic leadership appears disjointed on how to push the issue and most attempts at gaining control over the gun epidemic doesn’t even come up for a vote. Even if a bill won’t pass we need to force legislators who oppose gun control to stand up and essentially say, “our children’s safety doesn’t matter”. This needs to stop!
The need to pass some elements of gun-control legislation is tragically overdue. Here are a few of the measures that I support and which I will fight for at least a vote so that Americans could see exactly who is fighting for the NRA and who is fighting for our children. It should be noted that NONE of these pieces of legislation would infringe on the basic rights outlined in the 2nd Amendment:
- The outlawing of the Bump-Fire stocks which effectively makes a semi-automatic rifle into an automatic rifle;
- Stricter restrictions on gun purchases including by those who have documented mental-health issues;
- The banning of high-capacity magazines whose only purpose is to allow you to shoot more bullets in a faster time;
- Limiting the ownership and use of automatic and semi-automatic rifles. There is no argument to be made that this would impact the rights of sport hunters.