This is an open letter to all our republican and democratic congresspersons and senators.
Dear Representative of the People;
Yesterday was an historic day in the history of this nation. The president of the United States, whether or not you agree with him, laid out a comprehensive series of gun control actions, that he believes will ultimately make this nation safer for us all. The man in the street, the mother in the house, the child in the school or on a porch should all be impacted by these recommendations. Now the attention of the nation will shift. The White House has done it's job and now the House of Representatives and the Senate must do theirs.
We, as a nation, have always lived with an understanding that there really is such a thing as American exceptionalism. We are a country that has made many mistakes in our 235+ years of existence, but has shown a remarkable propensity for demonstrating the ability to correct these mistakes and do what is right for the American people.
Now, the people of this country are demanding that you, as our representatives, face and solve an entire series of seemingly intractable problems, ranging from the debt ceiling, to spending, to taxation, to immigration reform. Now, with the tragedy of Newtown thrust upon the nation as a malignant cancer infecting our souls, you are being asked to find the solution to an argument that has vexed this country for the last century.
This letter is being written to attempt to get each of the 535 of you to put aside your party affiliation through this singular issue and think about the lives of those who die in this country every day as the result of firearms. We lose 32 people a day, or over 11,500 Americans each year to gun violence. Since 1978, over 118,000 children and teenagers have died due to gunshot wounds. These numbers are staggering. No matter how important the second amendment is to each of us, there must be a way of lowering the volume of the carnage.
There can be none of us so callous that we would believe that the National Rifle Association's insistance on the absolutely unfettered right to armaments is guaranteed to all of us. This nation cannot buy the cannard that guns don't kill people, people kill people. We all know that the adage should be people with guns kill people, people with bigger guns kill more people, people with knives and bats have a lot more trouble killing people. No one is asking any of you to consider banning weapons. There are too many legitimate uses for weapons and too many people who collect and use those weapons for sport or defense to ask for unreasonable gun laws. But listen to what the President has proposed. The limiting of maximum capacity clips, a ban on assault weapons, along with universal background checks are reasonable controls in the eyes of the American people. Whether each of you agree with these proposals or not, you must give them due consideration and, if you are opposed, give the American people a reasonable explanation of your decision making process. Spewing the NRA's party line no longer is a satisfactory explanation.
Governance is an act of courage. Each of you have laid your lives bare for all to analyze and criticize. You take heat for your decisions almost every day. In most cases, the votes you make represent your deepest ethical beliefs. But this issue is different. We know that you have to grieve with the rest of the nation for the innocent lives that were lost in Virginia Tech, Aurora, and Newtown. We know that all of you would, in a world without lobbyists, vote to place reasonable limitations that will save lives. Each of you will take the lives of 11,500 people a year and 118,000 children in 35 years over the profits of the gun industry. You each know that this is the right thing to do.
President Obama has shown courage and fortitude in laying out a big program in the wake of the Newtown massacre. Today, each of you will be asked to demonstrate your own courage and fortitude. You can vote with the lobbyists or with party hacks or you can look into the eyes of the American people and decide that the memory of those innocents that have died are more worthy of your vote.
The American people are expecting nothing less from their representatives.
I am sending this to every congressperson and senator through e-mail lists today. I encourage all of us to let the politicians know how we feel about this issue.