Republicans are avoiding gun talks as election looms

Republicans are avoiding gun talks as election looms
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No parent should ever have to get that news. The news that 17 families received on Valentines Day. The news that their child — 14,15,16 years old — will not be coming home.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioNikki Haley: New York Times ‘knew the facts’ about curtains and still released story March For Our Lives founder leaves group, says he regrets trying to 'embarrass' Rubio Rubio unloads on Turkish chef for 'feasting' Venezuela's Maduro: 'I got pissed' MORE (R-Fla.), Gov. Rick Scott (R), Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage How does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act MORE, President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE. They responded with distractions.

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“It’s too soon; you can’t legislate evil; he would have gotten a gun anyway; it’s mental illness.”

 

While Republicans desperately try to avoid the subject, some of their constituents are being slaughtered.  

Since Donald Trump was sworn in, our country has suffered it’s deadliest shooting in modern history, the deadliest house of worship shooting, and now the deadliest high school shooting.

They happened because dangerous individuals have easy access to firearms. If our leaders continue to make excuses, these massacres will continue.

Guns kill 38,000 Americans every year. These deaths are comprised of suicides, homicides, unintentional shootings, and these horrible large scale tragedies. But the answer from Republican leadership is always the same — there is nothing we can do. They have never been more wrong.  

As Republicans tremble, leaders are being born all around them. Last week we saw more compassion, poise, and bravery in the surviving students from Wednesday’s shooting than we have in all the hollow “thoughts and prayers” tweeted out by Republican officials.

If we want a safer nation for these children we must strengthen our weak gun laws. To do that, people who care about stopping this carnage must become single issue voters. Gun violence prevention voters. I am proposing the following litmus test that candidates must pass before they get your vote:

There is no one-size-fits-all law to stop gun violence but we can begin by removing guns from dangerous people. Contrary to popular mythology, mental illness is not an indicator of violence.

However, certain factors do show a clear risk of violence; factors like past violent behavior, anger issues, and substance abuse. Every state in the nation needs a tool in place to temporarily remove guns from someone known to be a danger to self or others.

These tools, often referred to as Extreme Risk Protection Orders, provide family members and law enforcement an avenue to subtract the guns from a crisis situation before tragedy occurs.

Domestic violence is one of the clearest indicators of future gun violence. We can save lives by, among other things; closing gaps in the law like the “boyfriend loophole” and requiring removal of firearms from domestic abusers.

Next, we need to get assault rifles off of our streets. A 19-year-old shouldn’t be able to legally purchase an AR-15 before they can buy a beer. These rifles have become the official gun of American mass shooters. They serve only one purpose — to kill a lot of people as quickly as possible.

Lastly, we must require background checks on every gun transfer. Laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people will succeed only if they are built on the foundation of a robust background check system.

It appears that Republican leadership still doesn’t get it. They haven’t gotten the message that doing nothing is no longer an option. It is now up to the voters to deliver that message.

Josh Horwitz is the executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. He received his law degree from the George Washington University.