Some common sense about improving gun safety

Some common sense about improving gun safety

Another week, another massacre.

The Supreme Court has never ruled that government is barred from regulating guns. The phrase “well-regulated” is part of the Second Amendment. Even the NRA hasn’t always opposed gun regulations. But with extremists in control of the organization, it has used a combination of campaign money and a fanatical corps of single-issue voters to paralyze Republicans in Congress and prevent any common-sense measures, even as the death toll from mass shootings at schools and other locales has grown ever-more horrifying.

It’s time for a return to sensible regulations that protect our children – and us. Here are proposals Democrats are supporting:

  • Background checks for internet and gun show sales of firearms. The loophole that allows such sales to take place without checks means that more than a fifth of the nearly 30 million U.S. gun purchases each year takes place without any sort of background check.
  • Raising the minimum age for buying an assault rifle to 21 from 18. Such a requirement would simply apply what’s already considered a reasonable standard for sales of alcohol and tobacco.
  • A ban on bump stocks—devices available without regulation that allow a semiautomatic weapon to function similarly to an automatic weapon, firing multiple rounds fwith the single pull of a trigger.
  • Cracking down on straw purchases, when an individual who can pass a background check buys a gun for someone who can’t. Currently, the laws against such purchases are weak and go largely unenforced.

None of these measures calls for taking guns away from responsible adults. None of them calls for banning people from owning guns for their own protection. Yet no matter how many people have been slain in mass shootings since Republicans gained control of Congress—at a community college in Oregon; in San Bernardino, California; at the Pulse nightclub and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida; at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas; at the Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas; and now at a Texas high school—their only response has been to further roll back gun restrictions.

The situation has become so dire that Santa Fe High School student Paige Curry, interviewed after the shootings there last week, said she wasn’t surprised by the attack and the slaying of her classmates because “It’s been happening everywhere. I’ve always felt it would eventually happen here too.”

Protests calling for gun regulation have mounted, and polls show more than two-thirds of Americans support stricter controls. But it’s clear that Republicans won’t take action, no matter what voters think or how many innocent people, including schoolchildren, are killed. The only way to end their legislative dereliction is to elect a Democratic majority to Congress this fall.

Please turn out Nov. 6 and support Democratic candidates who will enact reasonable, responsible regulations on firearms, and ensure that students like Paige—and all Americans—can go about their daily lives without constantly worrying that they will become victims, too.

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