To the Editor:
Far from succumbing to a temper tantrum, at their Thursday sit-in demanding something besides “thoughts and prayers” for the victims of the worst mass shooting in our history, the U.S. House Democrats were trying to do what those enslaved by the NRA have failed to do: slow the horrendous barrage of mass shootings in America. Democrats were upholding their oath to protect America, to serve their constituents, to do what is right.
Republicans throw up their hands and say nothing can stop those intent on killing. In 1996, after a gunman in Australia murdered 35 people and wounded nineteen others, the Australians came together and voted for the National Firearms Agreement, which included a ban and mandatory buyback of semiautomatic assault rifles, the kind used in seven of the last eight assaults in the U.S. There have been no mass shootings since then (Columbus Dispatch, 6/26/16). Coincidence? Perhaps. The respite has lasted for 20 years.
We need unity. That’s what the Australians acted on. If 90 percent of our citizens favor universal background checks, that sounds like way more than a super majority. Why do our elected representatives ignore their constituents? Is it possible they are bought or intimidated by the NRA?
Trump and the NRA make the false claim that someone’s coming after all your guns. That’s a LIE. They also say we don’t understand what an assault weapon is. We did when we used to have an Assault Weapons Ban. It doesn’t take much brainwork to realize that a weapon that can kill many people very quickly, more with large magazines, is an assault weapon.
Legislators have gone so far as to yield to NRA pressure, through the Dickey Amendment, to ban the CDC from collecting evidence on the proliferation of gun deaths as a national health problem. They enforce ignorance. Why don’t they want to have accurate figures on what’s happening in our country?
At the beginning of President Obama’s tenure, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stressed that he would oppose everything Obama was for. That included issues on which there had previously been bipartisan agreement. He’s hamstringing his own party, not letting them make their own decisions or vote their consciences. Do we want congressional representatives who represent companies and racists instead of us? I think not.