Will Congress move on gun control?

Will Congress move on gun control?
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We are two of the struggling survivors of the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival mass murder of 58 people just over a year ago, which left 600 physically shot or injured, and so many more emotionally broken. In 10 minutes, one man in a nearby hotel room armed with an AR-15, customized to mimic a fully automatic rifle, ruined thousands of lives. In the aftermath of the largest mass shooting in our nation in modern history, America has seemingly moved on and left so many of us behind without answers, without support, and without any action or assurance that anything will be done to stop this from ever happening again.

Last December, we traveled to Washington and testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee to tell our story, share our experience, and urge Congress and the Trump administration not to wait, and to do something to outlaw bump stocks, assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines now. We were shocked in the process of preparing for that testimony to learn that Senator Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSchumer becomes new Senate majority leader Democrats torn on impeachment trial timing Justice Dept. closes insider trading case against Burr without charges MORE (D-Calif.) had held a previous hearing two months after the tragic death of 27 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2013 where she specifically warned of the incredible danger we all faced as a nation from bump stocks turning assault weapons into machine guns.


In the aftermath of Las Vegas, so many of our elected leaders said they would have outlawed bump stocks already if only they had known. Senator Feinstein made it crystal clear that many were warned and should have known. They knew and did nothing, just as they have continued to know for over a year since, and still have done nothing. The leadership of the House of Representatives did not even have the decency to hold a hearing, let alone move legislation to ban assault weapons, high capacity magazines, bump stocks and more.

While the Trump administration has slowly moved forward on proposed regulations to make bump stocks highly restricted, they have done nothing whatsoever to deal with assault weapons and high capacity magazines. That is why we joined with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and continue to urge Congress to take decisive legislative action now, not only to ban bump stocks and other such devices, but also to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

This is not a partisan or political issue. This is simply a human issue. People should not have to fear death and injury every day from gun violence, especially from weapons of war in our places of peace. Today, there are scores of our fellow survivors who are on suicide watch, and we have already lost other survivors of that tragic day last year to suicide because of the emotional scars wrought from that day.

So many of us feel forgotten and swept under the rug. Unlike the Orlando victims fund, which raised $60 million in the wake of the shooting at Pulse Nightclub, the survivors of Las Vegas only received $34 million in their fund for 10 times the amount of victims and survivors. Furthermore, funding provided to crime victims for support and mental health services is coming to an end upon the one year anniversary of the incident.

We ask all of our fellow Americans to do three things for the one year remembrance of the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas. First, contact the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms to issue a final rule banning bump stocks now. Second, register and vote in the midterm elections in November as a gun violence prevention citizen. Finally, donate to support the victims and survivors of the shooting. We need your help.

Heather Gooze and Heather Sallan are survivors of the Route 91 Country Harvest Music Festival shooting in Las Vegas. They founded two chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in Nevada and have testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee to call for gun control.