What is left to say about the slaughter of children, students, movie goers and reporters like 24 year-old Alison Parker, killed while doing an early morning television interview? As with every previous shooting, there will be shock, responses from elected officials expressing “prayers and sympathy,” but no commitment to responsible, common sense legislation.
Andy Parker, father of Alison, expresses the frustration and anger of many around the country when he says, “I’m not going to let this issue drop. Next week it is not going to be a story anymore, and everybody’s going to forget it. But you mark my words… I’m going to do something, whatever it takes, to get gun legislation, to shame people, to shame legislators into doing something about closing loopholes on background checks and making sure mentally ill people don’t get guns.”
Like a B movie, the same predictable voices are heard from the NRA and representatives paid by them to do nothing that resembles responsibility and common sense. Large NRA donations keep conservative lawmakers on a leash. So 300 million guns circulate in the United States, enabling convicted felons and persons with a long history of mental illness to gain access. At this time the NRA is working to get college campuses to allow guns.
So, what’s a citizen to do? I repeat a reasonable formula:
- Support a universal background check for all gun purchases. At present anyone can buy a gun at a gun show or online. Only 60% of gun purchases have a background check.
- Ban assault weapons.
- Ban high capacity magazines.
- Support expansion of much needed mental health resources.
Over 90% of citizens polled want strong gun safety legislation. Our senators and representatives need to hear from us on this life or death issue, with unrelenting commitment from all concerned.
Time for a March on Washington? Sign me up.