There I sat in a non-descript ballroom in downtown Denver on a sweltering June day, listening to Hillary Clinton speak about the staggering inequalities women in the U.S. still face, while two blocks away, a man walked into the Colorado Recycling Association offices, shot his ex-wife multiple times and then fatally shot himself.
Like thousands of other people, every mass shooting affected me and I wrote my share of posts related to the carnage, the tragedy, and the helplessness. I had made that promise to myself but political correctness and Facebook friendships be damned. How could anyone look at the pictures and read the heart-breaking stories and not want action?
Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, of which I am a senior member, held a hearing on preventing the loss of lives to illegal gun crime. In theory, this is a long overdue discussion for Congress, and the committee should be applauded. If only the hearing had served that purpose.
Living in a world where everyone is increasingly armed takes away all those rights, and puts us into a domestic war-zone not of our choosing. The Founders put the First Amendment before the Second Amendment. Let's take back our domestic tranquility and our First Amendment right to peaceful assembly.
Empowering LGBTQ communities - keeping them safe and giving them a platform to demand respect and humanity - will be difficult even in the wake of marquee victories, but it can happen. Beating the NRA will not be easy, but it can be done if we invest in building people power among all those who have been impacted by gun violence.
Since 1963 more than 176,000 children have died from gun violence in America — over three times more than all the soldiers killed in action in the Vietnam War and every external conflict since. Our children have a right to grow up in a caring and decent society that protects their right to live and learn in safety.
For years the National Rifle Association has maintained its stranglehold on national politics by convincing politicians that it is politically invincible. But now there is fresh evidence -- actual numbers -- that show the NRA is increasingly feeling the heat of Americans' shifting attitudes about gun violence prevention.
Four days after the Columbine massacre, on April 24, 1999, I was on a date with my friend Philip in Atlanta when we were robbed by a teen with a stolen gun. He shot both of us and Philip was killed. And every spring, no matter how hard I try to enjoy the season, I'm reminded of that night. I can smell it.