This Can’t Be Just Another Week in America

This is a guest post from Kris Brown, Co-President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

A few weeks ago, another mass shooting at a popular nightclub and bar in Thousand Oaks, California left a community devastated. Twelve precious lives were cut short by gun violence — its victims, ranging in age from 18-54, were simply enjoying a night of country music. Chillingly, one of the victims had survived the Las Vegas music festival shooting in 2017.

The Thousand Oaks tragedy came on the heels of a particularly lethal weekend. One gunman slaughtered 11 worshipers in their synagogue in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. Another gunman shot and killed two African-Americans outside a grocery store in Jeffersonville, Kentucky, after trying and failing to enter a predominantly black church. And just last week, a gunman opened fire at a hospital in Chicago, leaving three dead and several wounded.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking part of this series of senseless tragedies is that, to many of us, news reports of mass shootings are beginning to feel like just another week in America.

Every day, 342 people in this country are shot, and 96 of them die. Every day!

The Parkland students and their peers across our country tell us again and again that they’ve only known a world where mass shootings were commonplace; when the next massacre wasn’t a question of if, but when and where.

They’re fed up. And furious. And they have a right to be. Because every day, right here in the United States of America, 47 children and teens are shot — eight of them unintentionally — and seven of them die.

In every corner, Brady is helping everyday Americans who see the toll of gun violence speak up and share their voices. In the last few weeks, Brady Board member and trauma surgeon Joseph Sakran started a movement in the medical community when he responded to the NRA’s statement that physicians should stay out of the NRA’s lane and stay silent on the issue of gun violence. The #ThisIsOurLane movement Dr. Sakran started has spread to every corner of our country and beyond, and it is a powerful counterpunch to the NRA in which medical professionals across the country have shared devastating photos from the gun violence cases they’ve faced in emergency rooms across the country. A bullet removed from a six-month-old’s brain in Indiana. A pool of blood beneath a Louisville operating table.

Middle school and high school students. Faith leaders. Parents. Teachers. And now, E.R. doctors. They’re all standing up and saying ENOUGH — and we stand with them. The epidemic of gun violence in our country must stop.

As I write, there’s a bipartisan bill just sitting in Congress, waiting for action, that would be a step in the right direction.

H.R. 4240, cosponsored by Reps. Mike Thompson (CA) and Peter King (NY) would expand Brady background checks to cover all commercial firearm sales, removing the loopholes that allow guns to be sold at gun shows, through classified ads, and on the internet — all without a background check.

The bipartisan legislation has 208 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle. Its provisions are backed by 9 out of 10 Americans — and 8 out of 10 gun owners — because Brady background checks work.

Since its enactment in 1993, the Brady Law has blocked more than three million firearm purchases. One study showed that between 1994 and 2010 Brady background checks stopped an average of 343 prohibited purchasers per day from buying guns. We’re talking felons, domestic abusers, those with mental health issues.

Just think how many more weapons could be kept out of dangerous hands if Brady background checks were expanded to close those gun show and internet loopholes!

So what is Congress waiting for?

If they’ve been waiting for a sign from the ballot box, they certainly got one on November 6th. Youth (ages 18-29) voter turnout in this election was 10 percent higher than in 2014 midterms. And at last count, 61 Brady-endorsed candidates won election to the House and Senate, including the ousting of eight of Brady’s “Notorious Nine,” candidates who accepted large campaign donations from the NRA and voted or blocked any gun violence prevention legislation that arose during their terms.

And while the Brady Campaign and its supporters will certainly hold those newly elected and re-elected leaders to their pledge to make gun violence prevention a priority, we don’t want to wait until January. We don’t want to wait another day and allow gun violence to claim dozens of lives.

To that end, we’ve launched a petition drive urging lawmakers to close the gun show and internet loopholes by passing H.R. 4240 without delay. If you too have had ENOUGH of “thoughts and prayers” and want real solutions…if you want to address the great public health crisis of our time…if you want to help make real, lasting change and save countless lives, then please — sign today.

Image credit: wasik via Flickr

39 comments

Latoya Brookins
Latoya B4 days ago

That pic is about to make me cry.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson10 days ago

Thank you.

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heather g
heather g15 days ago

I echo what Anne Moran has written.

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Anne Moran
Anne M15 days ago

Murder,, mental illness,, easy access to guns,, ignorance,, lack of compassion,, complacency,, are becoming the norm, more and more in today's society... - But then again,, not much anyone can do about it, because the guns are already out there,, in the killers' hands, and they have the element of surprise,, which makes it IMPOSSIBLE to ever stop these crimes/killing sprees from happening... - So yeah,, it just IS another week in America...

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Peggy B
Peggy B15 days ago

Petition signed.

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Peggy B
Peggy B15 days ago

It's interesting how they say a good guy with a gun saved the day, but don't mention how many good guys with a gun get mistaken for the bad guy and gets gun down by the police. That's why if I was a teacher I would sure as hell not want to have a gun. It would be a lot cheaper to put metal detectors at the doors like hospitals have. And a gated fence around the school itself than for the government to supply each teacher with a gun. But none of that would be needed if guns were regulated nationally better than it is now. Each state needs to be linked to a national register, if for nothing else, but to list all the people ineligible to own a gun. Enforce the existing laws. If someone uses your gun for a crime you are responsible. They need to be secured under lock and key. This business of a kid getting a gun and accidentally getting shot and the judge doesn't sentence the gun owner because they have suffered from the loss of their child is ludicrous.

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Peggy B
Peggy B15 days ago

Paul C …. and since the ban the UK has approximately 60 gun deaths a YEAR! And that number includes suicides and accidental deaths from shotguns. So the theory that criminals will have all the guns goes out the window. Many people will say 'well they just stab people' doesn't float either. The number of stabbings is almost the same per capita as the US.

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Lorraine A
Lorraine A15 days ago

Defiantly signed.

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Julie W
Julie W15 days ago

Signed.

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Danuta W
Danuta W15 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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