I need to ask the most terrifying question that haunted every parent this past week. What if it was Crozet? What if it happened here? In our schools? To our children and our teachers? It is almost unbearable to ask this, but we must. Our country must never accept that our children may not return home from a day at school, because of a mass shooting.
Gun violence is preventable, and it is time for the United States to join every other smart, prosperous, developed nation, and pass common sense gun safety protections.
Most Americans support stronger gun control. In the November 2017 election, Virginia voters identified gun violence as their second most important concern, and twelve NRA- backed Delegates lost their seats to pro-gun reform challengers.
Unfortunately, of over two dozen gun safety bills introduced by Democrats, NRA-funded House members did not allow any of these bill get to the floor, including legislation that would ban bumpstocks like the one used in the Las Vegas shooting.
Since the Parkland shooting, there has been an outpouring of student activism calling “BS” on the politicians, beholden to the National Rifle Association, who do nothing to protect our citizens from gun violence. If you, like many others, are horrified by the escalation of school shootings in our country, there are a few very important this you can do:
CALL on Congress to support some of the policies that work in other countries, such as a ban on assault weapons like the one used in the Parkland shooting, or implementing universal background checks.
VOTE in the 2018 mid-term election for candidates that support common sense gun protections like universal background checks. Representative Tom Garrett boasts on his website that he has the highest rating from the National Rifle Association. He co-sponsored the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which allows individuals to carry a concealed weapon into another state, and threatens women fleeing domestic violence, as well as a bill to eliminate fees on silencers. Can you imagine the Las Vegas shooting had the shooter used a silencer? There are several qualified candidates running against Tom Garrett. Ask candidates about their stand on gun safety and vote Garrett out of office this November.
TALK with your friends and neighbors about gun safety. The majority of gun deaths in America aren’t from mass shootings in which a shooter uses a rapid-firing weapon to slaughter children. Of the over 33,000 people killed in the U.S. every year by guns, most are suicides. An additional many thousands of people die each year from accidental shootings. These gun deaths are also preventable. Conversations and expectations with friends and family members about responsible gun ownership are an important way to assure safety. For support on how to have these conversations, go to www.besmartforkids.org and stay tuned for a training and discussion coming to Western Albemarle soon.
The argument that the 2nd Amendment gives the absolute right to anyone to own assault weapons, without consideration of public safety, is outdated and morally bankrupt. I was raised in a family full of hunters, with my father’s locked gun cabinet in our living room, and learned to shoot a rifle when I was a young girl. This letter is NOT about gun prohibition. It is an urgent plea to join the rest of the world in prioritizing lives over guns and passing common sense protections. Our children deserve better.
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