On June 12th, 2016 49 people lost their lives, 53 people were wounded, countless family members and friends lost a loved one, and around the world we grieved and prayed for those effected by the most deadly mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Despite this tragedy, on June 20th, 2016 the Republican controlled Senate voted against new gun-control measures that would strengthen background checks and prevent suspected terrorists from buying weapons. This defeat is just another reminder of the power of gun lobbyists and Republican partisanship. As Democratic Senator Harry Reid said to the Senate shortly after the defeat, “sadly, our efforts are blocked by the Republican Congress, who take their marching orders from the National Rifle Association.”
Now, days before the inauguration of Republican President-Elect Donald Trump, new legislation and measures that loosen gun restrictions are presented before our law makers. In Florida, days after a horrific attack at the Fort Lauderdale Airport baggage claim, lawmakers are pressing to remove “Gun-Free Zones” from airports. Last week, a bill was introduced that would remove the additional tax put forth by the National Firearms Act of 1934, for gun silencers. The bill would also refund $200 for those who purchased silencers after October of 2015. WHAT?!
We have already learned the tough lessons, we have already seen the worst of it, we have already felt unthinkable tragedy by gun violence so why haven’t we been able to make any changes to our laws? The National Rifle Association, pro-gun U.S. Congress representatives and firearms manufacturers are, in the grand scope, a SMALL group of people but are still able to hold our lives in their hands.
If we don’t stand up together, we may see even laxer gun control laws over the next four years. We need to use our rights, our voices, our morals, everything we have to demand the change we seek.