What words are left? If we as a nation are willing to allow mass causality gun crimes to go unanswered with legislation that could make a meaningful difference in the lives of our people, what words are left to share with those killed at the social services center in San Bernardino, CA today? Do we share with them the same words of comfort and promises of action that were promised to the children massacred at Sandy Hook or the young college students murdered in Roseburg, Ore. earlier this fall? That fact that people are still able to purchase weapons of war, some of which were appropriately banned under the now-expired Assault Weapons Ban, is a moral failure on the part of our nation.
Researchers who focus on policy issues traditionally look for majority opinion as a guide to what may or may not be possibly changed in the public domain. But the fact that slightly less than half of all gun owners support the ban on assault rifles is a finding which needs to be considered on its own terms.
These bipartisan bills in the House and the Senate are must-pass bills, if primarily for the return on investment. To fail this opportunity is to pass on serious financial returns and it is a pass on a healthier environment for the American people. We cannot fail. The time for bipartisanship is now.
Mass shootings are heartbreaking and tragic, but they are not as prevalent as the killings that occur daily across American inner cities. Politicians seem to only focus on high-profile tragedies when they are presented with a public demand to get something done that might actually benefit the American people.
Connecticut last week was not alone in moving forward on gun safety. New York, Colorado, and Maryland have all passed new gun violence prevention legislation in the last four months. In each of these states, ordinary citizens have said no more and lawmakers have displayed the courage to listen and lead. Now it's time for Congress to lead for children and for all of us in every state -- not just some -- to demand action not obstruction and to put protection of child and citizen safety ahead of guns -- especially deadly assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines that should not be in civilian hands. The gun violence prevention bills pending in Congress deserve a vote. This time there must be change.