Mr. President, we join you in mourning the children and teachers who lost their lives in the senseless shooting in Connecticut. We joined you in mourning after Denver and after Tucson as well. But now you must do more than mourn and shed a tear, you must act.
The time is now to begin the process of getting guns off our streets and it should start with reinstating the Brady Bill and banning assault weapons. One such weapon is the Bushmaster 223, which was used in mowing down the teachers and those 6- and 7-year-old children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It is unconscionable that the gunman’s mother legally had this weapon in her home along with other semi-automatic and automatic weapons. There is absolutely no reason for any private citizen to have such firearms. Whether it is the mall shooting in Washington State, or the other senseless acts of gun violence we see every day, it is clear the time for action is long overdue.
As president you must do more than say you are calling for action, you must act. You must tell the Congress exactly what you want them to do. You can order government agencies to enforce existing laws more aggressively and prosecute people who lie on gun applications. You can insist that the database that is used for background checks is kept up to date. You can ask for legislation to close the gun show loophole on background checks.
Even if you don’t get all the legislation you want, you must remind the American people that your requests are not disrespectful of the Second Amendment to the Constitution but that Congress can act legally to start keeping certain weapons out of the public’s hands. The Supreme Court has said there are reasonable restrictions allowed under the Second Amendment and it is time for those reasonable restrictions to become law. It is past time to stand up to the National Rifle Association. They had as their goal in the last election to defeat you. They lost and thankfully you won, it is now time to see that they lose again if they oppose these reasonable actions.
Calling for this legislation and taking executive action are only the first steps. Congress can craft other legislation to get guns off our streets and out of our homes. The majority of Americans appear to be ready to join with you and say ENOUGH of this senseless killing. As we continue to shed tears over the loss of these precious children and their teachers our monument to them must be action to get these guns off our streets.
We must also look at dealing with mental illness and helping families with members who are ill. We need to make these services more readily available in schools and communities and take the stigma of using them away.
We all recognize that no legislation will stop every tragedy from happening. People who oppose gun control bring up the horrific case in Norway where 77 people were killed in a country with strict gun control. But that is no reason to not have reasonable gun control here. The number of killings in the United States from accidents when a gun is in the home and the easy access for mentally ill people like the Connecticut shooter are more than enough reasons to act.
We are a generous and caring nation and “One nation under God.” But there is a certain obscenity when someone like former Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks out after this latest incident and says it is caused by us taking God out of our schools. What I think of that comment is not printable here. My God is everywhere and it isn’t his job to stop that young man from taking his mother’s gun and mowing down 26 people — it is ours. Mike Huckabee and those with sentiments like his will share responsibility for future deaths if they prevent legislative action now.
Mr. President, we can do this now if you lead the fight. We will join you in pressuring Congress to act. We can each make a difference if we truly believe that at least weapons of war must be immediately taken off our streets and then move to take other weapons off the streets. The passage of the assault weapons ban is only a start but it will make clear to the NRA that they will not control this debate, we the people will.