Op-Ed: Enough is Enough
In 2004, the national federal assault weapons ban expired. Since then, we have seen 10 mass shootings that employed the use of an assault rifle, six of them since 2011, when Republicans took control of Congress.
We’ve lost more than 170,000 people to guns in since 2011, 14,000 of them innocent children. How many more people have to die, how many families torn apart, until Congress finally says, “Enough is enough”?
In the wake of the 29 horrific mass shootings over the last five and a half years, the only actions we’ve seen from theRepublican Congressional leadership are prayers and condolences, even though there are common-sense reforms we can enact to combat gun violence. As a Congress, we are failing the American people — but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Let’s start by reauthorizing the assault weapons ban and taking these military-style weapons of war off of our streets, out of our nightclubs, movie theaters and classrooms. And with that, let’s reauthorize the ban of massacre magazines. There is no reason for a private citizen to possess a weapon and the bullets capable of inflicting so much pain and destruction.
Let’s close the “terror gap” that allows potentially dangerous terror suspects to acquire guns. If an individual is not allowed to fly on a plane, that person also shouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun.
It is past time that we require universal background checks whenever and wherever individuals buy guns, be it at guns shows, through internet sales or in a gun store.
And we can prohibit people convicted of hate crimes from buying guns.
These glaring loopholes are costing lives and Congress must act.
The majority of Americans support closing these loopholes; according to a Quinnipiac poll in December 2015, 83 percent of Americans support banning people on the Terrorist Watchlist from buying guns and a CBS News poll from after the Orlando massacre that 89 percent of the public supports universal background checks. So why isn’t Congress listening to the will of the people?
The single, most important mandate of our government is to keep its citizens safe. We must act in pursuit of this mandate. The level of gun violence in the United States is unacceptable. The refusal to make any effort to prevent future violence is unacceptable. We cannot afford anymore moments of silence — we need moments of action!
It is past time Congress says, “Enough is enough!” We must do more than offer our condolences.