Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gun violence: Enough

Anyone who lives or works in an inner city community understands something of the problems created by the presence of so many firearms.  Factor in the growing number of rapid fire, semi-automatic weapons, equipped with 30-round clips and you begin to visualize the terror of the problem we face with a gun policy that doesn't provide enough regulation.  

I know the problem extends beyond just controlling the trafficking of weapons.  Cuts in mental health services funding over the past 30 plus years plays a role as well. 

But there is no denying, guns are a huge part of the public safety crisis.  

What follows is a statement  appearing in USAToday on January 7, 2013 from former Arizona U. S. Representative Gabby Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly about their new effort to press for real reform in the nation's gun control efforts.  

What do you think?  

Giffords and Kelly: Fighting gun violence

Our new campaign will launch a national dialogue and raise funds to counter influence of the gun lobby.

This country is known for using its determination and ingenuity to solve problems, big and small. Wise policy has conquered disease, protected us from dangerous products and substances, and made transportation safer. But when it comes to protecting our communities from gun violence, we're not even trying — and for the worst of reasons.
I was shot in the head while meeting with constituents two years ago today. Since then, my extensive rehabilitation has brought excitement and gratitude to our family. But time and time again, our joy has been diminished by new, all too familiar images of death on television: the breaking news alert, stunned witnesses blinking away tears over unspeakable carnage, another community in mourning. America has seen an astounding 11 mass shootings since a madman used a semiautomatic pistol with an extended ammunition clip to shoot me and kill six others. Gun violence kills more than 30,000 Americans annually.In response to a horrific series of shootings that has sown terror in our communities, victimized tens of thousands of Americans, and left one of its own bleeding and near death in a Tucson parking lot, Congress has done something quite extraordinary — nothing at all.
An ideological fringe
Special interests purporting to represent gun owners but really advancing the interests of an ideological fringe have used big money and influence to cow Congress into submission. Rather than working to find the balance between our rights and the regulation of a dangerous product, these groups have cast simple protections for our communities as existential threats to individual liberties. Rather than conducting a dialogue, they threaten those who divert from their orthodoxy with political extinction.
As a result, we are more vulnerable to gun violence. Weapons designed for the battlefield have a home in our streets. Criminals and the mentally ill can easily purchase guns by avoiding background checks. Firearm accessories designed for killing at a high rate are legal and widely available. And gun owners are less responsible for the misuse of their weapons than they are for their automobiles.
Forget the boogeyman of big, bad government coming to dispossess you of your firearms. As a Western woman and a Persian Gulf War combat veteran who have exercised our Second Amendment rights, we don't want to take away your guns any more than we want to give up the two guns we have locked in a safe at home. What we do want is what the majority of NRA members and other Americans want: responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence.
We saw from the NRA leadership's defiant and unsympathetic response to the Newtown, Conn., massacre that winning even the most common-sense reforms will require a fight. But whether it has been in campaigns or in Congress, in combat or in space, fighting for what we believe in has always been what we do.
Let's not be naive
We can't be naive about what it will take to achieve the most common-sense solutions. We can't just hope that the last shooting tragedy will prevent the next. Achieving reforms to reduce gun violence and prevent mass shootings will mean matching gun lobbyists in their reach and resources.
Americans for Responsible Solutions, which we are launching today, will invite people from around the country to join a national conversation about gun violence prevention, will raise the funds necessary to balance the influence of the gun lobby, and will line up squarely behind leaders who will stand up for what's right.
Until now, the gun lobby's political contributions, advertising and lobbying have dwarfed spending from anti-gun violence groups. No longer. With Americans for Responsible Solutions engaging millions of people about ways to reduce gun violence and funding political activity nationwide, legislators will no longer have reason to fear the gun lobby. Other efforts such as improving mental health care and opposing illegal guns are essential, but as gun owners and survivors of gun violence, we have a unique message for Americans.
We have experienced too much death and hurt to remain idle. Our response to the Newtown massacre must consist of more than regret, sorrow and condolence. The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all victims of gun violence deserve fellow citizens and leaders who have the will to prevent gun violence in the future.
Gabrielle Giffords is the former Democratic U.S. representative from Arizona. Mark Kelly is a former astronaut.


Anonymous said...

Remember this when you see Obama using children as props:

" The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation."

Mein Kampt, Adolph Hitler

Anonymous said...

The article is rubbish - another left wing attack on individual liberty.

eirenetheou said...

Since it now seems impossible to end the manufacture and sale of weapons designed only for mass murder, i continue to think that the best legislative alternative would be to require licensing, registration, and liability insurance for each weapon, as is presently required for motor vehicles. Such legislation protects both the owners and operators of these weapons and their potential victims.

May God have mercy.


Anonymous said...

Wonder why nobody ever talks about the gun violence in Chicago, New Orleans or Detroit? The reason is that when you see cultural rot as in these cities, they are run by Democrats.

Anonymous said...

There are more than a million abortions in the US each year--over 50 million since 1973. Speaking of violence...
Where is the outrage?

Anonymous said...

Good article. Only an absolutely rigid ideology could noT see the merit in what is said.