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We Need Sensible Gun Legislation Now

Gun control is not the only issue that divides America today. However, it is an issue that demands our attention because of the horrible consequences of gun proliferation. Tragedies, like school shootings, and the righteous anger that they generate, have brought gun violence to the forefront of national dialogue. Unfortunately, the youngest victims of mass gun violence in Newtown, Connecticut did not sufficiently move us to enact sensible gun laws. Sandy Hook Elementary lost 26 people that devastating day in December 2012–twenty first-graders and six staff members. We owe it to them to tackle this issue now, once and for all.

Today, the survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have found their voices and wielded their outrage with skill that has transformed the gun debate landscape. Their voices and actions have garnered national attention and have led to boycotts, rallying, and lobbying elected officials. They have also organized a nationwide protest on March 24 dubbed “March for our Lives.” These courageous acts in the face of unimaginable loss remind us that our young people are our future leaders. Their perspective is invaluable in shaping the direction of our country. We stand with them!

Young voices, like Emma Gonzales, are not willing to be silenced by platitudes and will not allow misdirection to deter them from tackling the problem of gun violence head-on. The truth is, responsible gun owners are not opposed to sensible gun laws. Others have been misled into supporting politicians who talk about the Second Amendment, fearing that sensible gun laws will have a negative impact on them. Americans want to own guns and they will. The only question is: will there be some process for ensuring that dangerous people (aka “bad guys with guns”) don’t have unlimited access? Polarization on this incredibly sensitive topic has the potential to destabilize our democracy. If we can unite behind this one issue, despite partisanship, perhaps we can find sensible solutions to the problem that threatens our mutual well-being and–even–survival.

Every American should hold their elected officials accountable. This is especially vital on the issue of gun violence, which should not be a partisan issue. Politicians who accept money from the NRA in return for opposing sensible gun laws are doing a disservice to their constituents. We should utilize the power of our votes to replace them with honest politicians who can’t be bought. This is an issue that needs a sensible solution so that America can unite behind laws and politicians that serve the common good. The young people who volunteered for Freedom Summer in the 1960s taught our country the importance of coming together to make a change. Perhaps the young people in Florida, who are now speaking out, and who will forever be marked by the tragedy they survived, will be the catalyst that finally unites us.

 About the Author

Sylvia Golbin-Goodman is the Executive Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation and a member of its Board of Trustees. She leads the Foundation’s programming and developed the Hidden Heroes Awards.