Guns and Grief

OK, I’ll go first. Can we agree that not everyone in this country should be able to buy guns? Handguns? Bushmaster .223s that look like this?  Magazines with dozens and hundreds of rounds of ammunition? We agree? Great. Then let’s move on to who should NOT be able to buy guns. Can we agree that the mentally ill should not have the unrestricted ability to buy guns? We agree? Excellent. Look at the progress we are making.

Let’s look at this beautiful chart from Australia that clearly shows fewer guns equals fewer homicides.  Not enough? How about fifteen years worth of data showing the success of the Brady Bill and its waiting period and background check? It sure looks like, at least on paper, laws that restrict access to guns reduce gun violence.

OH MY GOD!  WHY ARE WE EVEN TALKING ABOUT THIS?  Why are we not running to take action?  I signed a petition today.  It feels pitiful.  It’s ridiculous that we have to twist ourselves into pretzels to even have a conversation.  It is unconscionable that we heard not a word about GUN CONTROL during the elections.  Yup, that’s what it’s called.  Gun CONTROL.  It is not gun confiscation, not gun prohibition, not a gun ban.  CONTROL!  Sensible limits!

I was in the East Room of the White House on November 30, 1993 when the Brady Bill was signed.  It was one of the most joyous days of my life and by many accounts one of the most jubilant events ever held there.  I feel the complete opposite of that today. Devastated. Empty.  I burst into tears watching my daughter’s basketball game last night, overwhelmed by the thought of all those parents who will never see their daughters play for their high school junior varsity team.

As a friend  posted to Facebook, with the dated but still powerful Handgun Control fact sheet included here, “Why is it that we have to ask elementary school children to be courageous in the face of a psychopath with a gun, and we do not ask our leaders to be courageous when dealing with the gun lobby and the NRA?”

As the Brady Center puts it so eloquently, we are better than this.  We are.  Please, we have to be.


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