After the June 12, 2016, shooting spree in Orlando, Fla., where 49 people were slaughtered, I submitted an opinion column to 69 newspapers in six states who publish my thoughts headlined, “I’ve had it. Enough is enough.”
My comments, which, at that time were supported by 92 percent of Americans, called for enhanced gun ownership background checks as well as 23 specifically identified military-style assault weapons to only be used by law enforcement officers or members of the U.S. Armed Services.
Now, 97 percent of Americans are demanding gun ownership and weapon sale reform.
Since the 2016 Orlando assault, Iowa’s Republican-controlled Senate and House enacted laws permitting children to use guns, allowing stand-your-ground as a gun killer’s legal defense argument and granting guns to be carried into public venues. The Governor’s Office hasn’t said “boo” as to whether we should or should not be a member of States for Gun Safety Coalition.
Our 535 federal legislative delegates are also irresponsible. Iowa Republican Senators Charles Grassley (NRA grade “A” supporter) and Joni Ernst ($3,124,273 NRA campaign contributions) co-sponsored H.J. Res. 40, which permits people with mental health issues to purchase guns. Illogically, on Feb. 28, two weeks after 14 teenagers and three adults were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., President Trump signed this bill into law.
Our state and federal legislators’ non-action on gun control has resulted in: 1) seven children and teenagers are killed with guns every day, 2) 89 adults are killed every day as a result of gun violence, 3) more than 200 non-fatal firearm injuries occur every day and 4) more than 150 law enforcement officers are shot to death every year while protecting their communities.
What about “common sense gun reform” don’t our alleged representatives understand? The surviving teenagers from Parkland’s Douglas High School are more responsible adults than Congress and Iowa’s elected delegates.
The adage “out of the mouth of babes” couldn’t be more truthful than now. Douglas student David Hogg, 17, proclaimed to all legislators in all states: “You guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role. Work together. Come over your politics and get something done.”
Cameron Kasky, 11th-grader at Douglas, was exceedingly mature when he said, “People are saying that it’s not time to talk about gun control. And we can respect that. Here’s a time: March 24th in every single city. We are going to be marching together as students begging for our lives.”
The March 24 “March For Our Lives” could transcend politics. As Kasky reflects so thoughtfully, “This isn’t about the GOP. This isn’t about the Democrats. This is about the adults. We feel neglected and at this point, you’re either with us or against us.”
Responsible teenagers are asking adults like mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, you and me these questions: 1) “do you favor common sense gun reform as does 97 percent of Americans or not?” and 2) “do you care enough about your child, grandchild or neighbor’s child to join in the “March For Our Lives” event, even if it’s marching up and down your street, or are you going to let our spineless 100 D.C. senators, 435 D.C. representatives, 50 Iowa senators and 100 Iowa representatives, president and governor continue to be irresponsible?”
Speak up by contacting your elected officials demanding common sense gun reform and marching March 24 on behalf of humanity. By doing nothing, someone you love could very well be the next gun victim.