On February 14, we witnessed one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history in Parkland, Florida. Unfortunately for our generation, it wasn’t the first we’ve seen. We’ve grown up with mass shootings and gun violence. We’ve seen too many hashtags, too many memorial photos, too many dark headlines. We’ve lost friends and family. But now, the survivors of the Parkland shooting are leading the way to saying, “enough is enough.”
After each tragedy, our elected officials offer empty “thoughts and prayers,” and little else. But thoughts and prayers don’t prevent future school shootings from happening—legislative action does. It’s time we encourage Congress to acknowledge America’s problem with gun violence, and to come up with solutions to the problem.
There are a lot of simple things legislators can do that would go a long way. 97% of Americans support expanded background checks for firearm purchases. As just happened in Floriday, legislators can also raise the minimum age to buy an assault-style weapon (most Americans can legally buy an AR-15 rifle before they can legally buy a beer). Legislators should also repeal the Dickey Amendment, which prevents the CDC from researching gun violence and prevents us from even understanding the problem, and fund the CDC to research gun violence as the national health crisis it is. Gun safety legislation is not a question of how or what, it’s a question of when.
Tell Congress: We want gun safety legislation, and we want it immediately. Your thoughts and prayers are not enough; it’s time for real, preventative policy solutions.