Florida legislators have lost their way on the issue of guns. There is a constitutional right (both state and federal) to own a gun. I get it! But the Second Amendment doesn't trump the First Amendment: The two are not even in conflict.
Unwittingly, I became a member of a club no one wants to belong to early on a chilly Friday morning, December 14, 2012. I had never even heard of this club. There is no formal name for this group and we don't have a clubhouse. The members are from across the country, all races, ages and genders. We live in urban areas, the suburbs and rural communities. Yet we all met the memberships' one criterion, a life taken by gun violence. The price of admission to this club is bullets.
Nationwide, we mourn the victims of the Lafayette Theater shooting. It is a particularly sad time for people in West Georgia and East Alabama who knew the shooter, and have to come to grips with someone they know perpetrating such a deed. Yet some want to keep the hate that helped fuel Rusty Houser going.
"I owe this group so much," says Alexandra Saali, a founding member from 2008 who now serves as a Young Professionals "Amplifer" for Girl Be Heard. Hearing about the plights of Congolese women and the other girls gave her "purpose, mission, and the drive that kept me on track through the crazy years of growing up.
In the wake of the awful shooting in Chattanooga that claimed the lives of five US servicemen, several media outlets are quickly rushing to point to drugs and mental illness are behind the Chattanooga shooting.
I wrote this because it seems more and more we hear of these shootings in America and it's impossible to keep up.
We have a problem in this country called gun violence and we're not going to solve it by 'fixing' a registration system that hasn't changed in more than 20 years; it's not going to be solved by putting the discussion off for another day; and it's certainly not going to be solved by asking every law-abiding citizen to walk around with a gun.
A Fox News host speculated the Lafayette Theater shooter was a member of ISIS at first. The 700 Club said that they were "searching for answers" and merely described the shooter as a "drifter." But Houser was no ordinary drifter.
Refuse to speak the words gun violence. Call it domestic terrorism. That's what it really is. Like my father, we must have the courage to take a stand. Let's refuse to be bullied by the NRA and the gun industry and their wealthy donors and highly-paid lobbyists.
Two weeks ago, we kind of went out on a limb (the polling evidence was not all that clear when we wrote it) and subtitled our previous column: "Donald Trump, Frontrunner." Since that time, such a statement has gone from being a wild prediction to becoming an equally-wild reality.
Justice cannot breathe when Black men and boys and women and girls are routinely profiled, abused, arrested, and killed with impunity by police officers. We must stop this. We must protect the lives of our young people -- all of them.
If we are going to implement strategies to reduce public mass shootings, we have to keep in mind that we are not really going to reduce gun homicide rates in America. Just as in medicine, there is no one wonder drug that will reduce illness. So too is the case with criminal justice programs.
In the weeks following the unspeakable gun violence in Charleston, there was one public voice notably absent, namely, the NRA. This time America's "oldest civil rights organization" kept their collectives mouths shut. Well, almost all of them did.
It appears there is nothing young, white men can do, including killing lots of innocent people at church, that will tarnish the positive bias toward that group, and there is nothing amazing enough that black men can do that will allow them to escape being perceived as the ones to be feared.
Presidential candidate Jeb Bush says he wants to overturn the ban on arming military recruiters, a response to the killing of five servicemen in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In doing so, he'll undo a policy enacted under his dad's administration, back in 1992.
According to military and civil police records, 3,989 firearms were collected in the first five months of 2015. Of these, roughly 80 percent were handguns.