After the seventeen deaths at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, and after the heroic advocacy of the Parkland students in the wake of that tragedy, we are finally realizing that we need common-sense gun control in the United States. We need to outlaw bump stocks. We need a renewal of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that was in effect between 1994 and 2004. We need stronger background checks of prospective gun buyers. We should also talk about other ways to prevent school shootings and murders, and translate those ideas into constructive action.
We also must hear from our North Carolina elected officials. Too many of our politicians have received huge windfalls of money from the National Rifle Association in the form of donations and support for election campaigns—including Senators Richard Burr ($6.99 million) and Tom Tillis ($4.42 million)—and now is the time for all politicians, and candidates running in the mid-term elections, to speak out in favor of saving lives rather than placating NRA lobbyists.
I would also encourage voters to press our Representative Virginia Foxx on this issue. Like Burr and Tillis, Foxx has consistently received an “A” rating from the NRA, indicating that she votes with the organization on virtually every issue, including opposition to expanded background checks. In 2016, Foxx summed up her opposition to any gun regulation, to what she sees as any infringement of Second Amendment rights, by saying “the problem of evil cannot be legislated away,” and calling for attention to mental illness to curb gun violence. But wouldn’t a multi-pronged approach be more effective? Wouldn’t combining mental illness treatment with expanded background checks and an assault weapons ban be a better deterrent? And how can Representative Foxx point to treatment as a solution when the current Trump/GOP budget calls for a $1.4 trillion decrease over the next decade in Medicaid, the central governmental program that provides mental health services?
We need answers to these and other questions. Please contact your legislators and ask for those answers. Lives depend on our advocacy.