St. Norbert Times

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JULIA SERRA | OPNION EDITOR

On Sunday, Nov. 5 a gunman walked into a Texas church and killed 26 people. Only a little more than a month earlier, 58 people were killed in an even deadlier mass attack. Gun violence is an epidemic in this country. We are a nation that seems to be constantly grieving another mass act of violence. Journalists, politicians and experts have all weighed in on the potential causes of the issue. While no concrete answer has been found, this nation begs for any sort of solution. Lives are at stake and there is an unmistakable need for action.

So what  is our government doing to solve this problem? In short, nothing. President Trump has been skirting actual confrontation of the issue. He has said a lot, but very little of it has any actual bearing and none of it proposes action to ensure the safety of his constituents. Most of his comments are centered around the “good man with a gun” argument. This states that the best defense against an active shooter is a hero with a gun. While this argument does pose a compelling point, the reality of its effectiveness is questionable. In Texas, the shooter was indeed stopped by a local resident with a gun. This resident however, had a permit that allowed him to carry a weapon. He had also completed the necessary background check in order to purchase his firearm. Taking action in the interest of public safety does not necessarily require that no one is allowed to purchase any sort of firearm. It only requires that as a community, we are secure in knowing that only those who can be trusted with firearms are allowed to purchase them.

Congress also remains inactive on the issue of gun control. During the Clinton presidency the Brady bill was signed. This required a background check in order to purchase a gun. This however is largely forgotten by law officials. It also left loopholes for gun shows and online purchases. A bill in support of expanding the Brady bill to require background checks for all has been put forward by both Democrat and Republican representatives. However the future for this bill looks grim due to reluctance from a large percentage of congress. This might seem peculiar until one considers the large percentage of members in both the House and the Senate that are receiving significant funding from the NRA. If they were to vote out of line with this monument of financial support it could significantly affect their personal careers. So instead they spew faulty logic that does not address the task actually being assessed. They avoid the conversation and continue to support their own power and greed rather than the livelihood of American citizens. Yes, you have permission to be outraged.

When questioned on his inaction towards gun violence, Trump states, “We’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by.” If we’ve learned one thing from the shooting in Texas, it is that there isn’t more time to “talk about gun laws.” Sure they won’t solve the problem in it’s entirety, but the roots of this violence are complicated. It takes years of nuanced work that requires collaboration that our government apparently is not capable of. In the meantime, people’s lives are at stake. People with guns are shooting innocent bystanders in churches, concerts, shopping malls, etc. The citizens of this country cannot live their day-to-day lives with a sense of security and the actions of Congress reflect only the concern for the funding of individual members of Congress. When the government does nothing to address the issue of gun control, it is not practicing self-control. They are not being mindful of the issues. There is no reason why a person with a history of unlawful violence should be able to purchase firearms. They are being negligent of the needs of the  American people. They are denying each and every person that steps foot on American soil the freedom to live without fear.

You can take action to support public safety. Call your representatives and compel them to support H.R. 3411. This bill would expand the Brady bill to require background checks for all gun sales.

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