Gun Control Now

We must act to stop more tragedies like the one in Newtown, Connecticut

President Barack Obama
Alex Wong/Getty Images
President Barack Obama makes a statement in response to the elementary school shooting in Connecticut at the White House in Washington, DC on December 14th, 2012.
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A gun massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school has left more than two dozen dead, most of them children. President Obama today offered us tears and a vague promise for "meaningful action." Yet he is the leader of a Democratic Party that has, with extreme cowardice, abandoned gun control to duck a fight with the National Rifle Association and its members.

A gunman puts a bullet in the brain of a Democratic congressman, Gabrielle Giffords, and nothing changes. A madman murders young people in a crowded theater in Aurora, Colorado, and nothing changes. Sikh worshippers in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and Christmas shoppers in Portland, Oregon become casualties and nothing happens. Our children are now being slaughtered as a result of a political calculation.

This must change. It must change today. The president can call on Congress, tomorrow, to renew the assault weapons ban as a necessary but insufficient first step toward ending this madness.

I am heartened that at least one nationally prominent politician has the guts to say what elected Democrats have decided they cannot: Thank you, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for this clarion call to action:

With all the carnage from gun violence in our country, it's still almost impossible to believe that a mass shooting in a kindergarten class could happen. It has come to that. Not even kindergarteners learning their ABC's are safe. We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again. For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns. Today, many of them were five-year-olds. President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem. Calling for 'meaningful action' is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership – not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today. This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response. My deepest sympathies are with the families of all those affected, and my determination to stop this madness is stronger than ever.

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