Posted on June 13, 2016
Gun control now: Congress must ban assault weapons
Another horrific mass shooting happened on Saturday, leaving at least 50 dead and 50 more wounded at an LGBT club in Orlando.
As the death toll from the tragedy in Orlando continued to mount, Republican politicians were quick to offer their prayers and condolences to the families and friends of the victims.
Coming from politicians who not only refuse to act to reduce gun violence, but who also foster and promote anti-LGBT bigotry and hate through their words, their party platform and their legislative actions, those “thoughts and prayers” don’t mean much.
Breaking the NRA’s chokehold on Congress will require massive grassroots pressure on our elected officials, demanding they deliver more than thoughts and prayers in the face of our epidemic of gun violence.
Republican members of Congress respond to gun tragedies while they’re in the news. But, they don’t take responsibility for how their actions, and inaction, lay the groundwork for hate crimes and gun violence, nor do they take action to prevent these tragedies from happening again. Instead, they offer up either fleeting sentiments or xenophobic and racist policies.
They need to pass real gun control now, including:
- Closing the terror gap by allowing the Department of Justice to block guns sales to anyone on the terror watch list. Between 2004 and 2014, more than 2,000 people on the list purchased guns in the U.S.
- Closing the loophole that allows people to buy guns without undergoing background checks through private sales, at gun shows and online. An estimated 40 percent of all firearms transferred in the U.S. are transferred by unlicensed individuals not required to conduct background checks on buyers.
- Banning convicted domestic abusers and stalkers from buying guns. Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that individual has access to a firearm.
- Prohibiting the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and “large capacity” magazines for civilian use.
In 2014 alone, the gun lobby spent over $30 million on political advertising and lobbying to influence legislators in Congress and state capitals across the country. If Republicans really want to protect Americans, they need to break their blind allegiance to the NRA and pass gun control legislation. But they’ll never act unless we force them. Can you add your voice today?
When Republicans disagree with advances in women’s rights, LGBT rights, or civil rights, they don’t just offer their thoughts and prayers, they push legislation. In just the last year, Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures across the country have worked to make abortion impossible to access, to discriminate against LGBT people, and to take away voting rights. At the same time, they have aggressively pushed the NRA’s agenda to weaken gun laws, from campus carry to permitless carry to stand your ground.
If all Republicans can offer after this weekend’s massacre are their thoughts and prayers, or misguided scapegoating of Muslim communities that plays into their base’s racism and xenophobia, that speaks volumes. It shows that current Republican leaders in Congress lack the care, or courage, to act.
Thank you for your activism.