October 2, 2017
Hon. Joe Barton
Hon. John Cornyn
Hon. Ted Cruz
East Capitol St NE & First St SE
Washington, DC 20004
It has been less than 12 hours since the newest tragedy begat by gun violence has forever altered the lives of everyone involved. Like all the gun deaths before it. I have called your offices and left messages with your hard-working staff to say that I desire action taken on gun reform. Comprehensive Gun Reform. To that end, I ask that you have hearings specifically to address gun violence in America.
To the cynical among us, I can point out that we know you receive donations from the NRA lobby. In 2016, The Washington-Post reported that since 1998, the NRA has donated $3,781,803 to current members of Congress (44/100 Senators & 249/435 Representatives). We know that is why there is alternately silence or rebuke at the mention of the words “Gun Control / Reform.” The same cynics among us will brace ourselves for the “You can’t take my guns” refrain we will get from those who believe the second amendment is worth more than human lives.
But the thing is we as a society have a body count. We can, and we must, institute immediate policies that will effectively prevent gun violence.
US mass shootings.
Las Vegas, 2017: 50+ killed
Orlando, 2016: 50 killed
Virginia Tech, 2007: 32 killed
Sandy Hook, 2012: 27 killed
San Ysirdo, 1984: 21 killed
San Bernadino, 2015: 14 killed
Edmond, 1986: 14 killed
Fort Hood, 2009: 13 killed
Columbine, 1999: 13 killed
— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) October 2, 2017
For each life lost due to gun violence (mass or single) there is blood on the hands of the leadership of this country. I do not wish to beleaguer you with the statistics of the countries that have comprehensive Gun Control laws, meaning strict regulation of the types of WEAPONS the average citizen has access to. The Second Amendment has to have a limit, what other right do we currently have from the bill of rights that is as unchecked? Why is that?
The text of the second Amendment even calls for a “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” What we have not is not well-regulated at all. Did you know that on average 30 people are shot dead in America DAILY? We are a stain on modern humanity to that end. For a hint about what our economic and social peers do around the world, please read this (aptly titled) article from The Guardian, “So America, this is how other countries do gun control.” As you can see, these countries try and protect their citizens from unnecessary harm by regulating access to deadly weapons.
You were all in office during Sandy Hook. The death of those 20 children don’t weigh on your conscience every day? The NRA effectively ceased the funding for studies by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for 20 years about gun violence. This blackhole of information cannot continue. To honor the victims of gun violence, let us move forward to prevent the wrong people from having access to weapons of (at this point) mass destruction. Gun Deaths and Gun Violence are public health issues. Please call for hearings to at least discuss the following:
- The need for the Dickey rider and allow the CDC funding to study gun violence so that we may have the tools necessary to construct sustainable public policies.
- Require all states to participate in the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System. Texas currently is not included due to funding.
- What have been the effects of the Tiahrt Amendment on law enforcement’s ability to prosecute dealers since no public database exists to trace guns recovered in crimes back to the source.
- Create stricter limits on who is qualified to own a gun. It is your job to keep us safe.
Finally, you have no moral high-ground if you consistently call out the divisiveness of the country, while not doing anything to unify it. This is the unifying issue. We are so divided that our neighbors are willing to kill those they feel do not belong. To continue to ignore Gun Violence and the need for stronger gun control laws runs afoul of our unalienable rights to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To do nothing, forces Americans to live in fear.
Ms. Puja Maharaj
Proud Texas Voter
- Hon. Trey Gowdy & Hon. Elijah Cummings (House Committee on Oversight & Government)
- Hon. Bob Goodlatte & Hon. John Conyers, Jr. (House Judiciary Committee)
- Hon. Chuck Grassley & Hon. Dianne Feinstein (Senate Judiciary Committee)
- Hon. Lamar Alexander & Hon. Patty Murray (Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions)
- Hon. Paul Ryan – Speaker of the House
- Hon. Mitch McConnell – Senate Majority Leader