THE BLOG
01/24/2013 03:51 pm ET Updated Mar 26, 2013

Will Reasonable People Speak Up on Gun Safety?

The president this weekend was sworn in for a second term and his inaugural address made clear that we must come together as a nation. This theme of unity began last week when the President and Vice President laid out a bold set of recommendations to address gun violence in our nation. So in response to those recommendations, reasonable people must speak up on gun safety and the underlying issues that are the driving causes of gun violence in our nation. Citizens must demand that our elected leaders act reasonably and responsibly in their deliberation to craft national gun safety policy to ensure that our children and communities are safe from gun violence. And we must speak up now!

President Obama has shown leadership, compromise and steadfastness in announcing a comprehensive approach to stop the bloodshed and deaths of innocent lives in our country. He has put forth a reasonable plan to address the critical issue of gun violence. More can be done and it is now time for Congress to act with a sense of urgency. Congress will only act if the American people demand it.

The president's comprehensive plan includes finding ways to make mental health treatment more accessible as a means to curb mass gun violence. This is realistic and critically needed today and for the prevention of future tragedies like the ones we witnessed in Tuscan, Aurora and Newtown.

Gun owners and non-gun owners alike should want universal background checks to be part of the solution, to ensure that the wrong persons are denied access to guns. Rational citizens must communicate this to their individual representatives in Congress to pass legislation that ensures background checks on all gun sales. This seems to be a fairly simple step. What reason can be justified for criminals to be able to avoid the background check system? The solution is simple: we should urge Congress to close the loopholes in the current law.

The right for an individual citizen to own a gun is protected by the Second Amendment of the Constitution, but I believe we have to take a comprised approach to disallowing individuals from assembling an arsenal of guns including high capacity assault weapons that are designed for military use. The president has asked Congress to restore the 1993 law that was allowed to expire, banning the individual purchasing of these military weapons. In light of the tragic massacres of innocent lives, this is not just a reasonable proposal; it is a necessity.

President Obama agrees with one of NRA's proposals in providing School Resource Personnel (security guards) to schools. He is asking Congress to provide the necessary resources to those schools requesting security guards. This is a reasonable request that Congress should enact.

The president emphasized that we as a country should be responsible in doing what we can now to stop the killing, even if it is only one life. We as citizens must accept this challenge and speak up.

This is not the time for our leaders to have a yelling match causing fear in our citizens; nor is it the time for stalling and procrastination. It is a time for action. The opponents of gun safety measures should not engage in personal attacks like the recent attack ad by the NRA to layout their position. Rather, we should use this opportunity to debate the issues and find common ground for the good of country.

If we are to have action in a thoughtful way, reasonable people, including gun owners, must stand up and demand that our elected officials pursue principled action -- action that seeks to build consensus beyond party lines by providing legislation to protect future acts of violence against innocent children and communities across America. The president has laid out the plan and now Congress must act.

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