Our representatives in Washington, D.C., are facing a critical decision. Will they stand up to powerful gun lobbyists and support legislation to curb the gun violence plaguing our nation? Or will they accept the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School as status quo?
I recently asked Congressman Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, this question. I found his reply less than satisfactory.
“The path forward should be focused on evidence-based steps that will actually improve public safety and prevent future tragedies,” he stated in a letter. Those steps, in his view, include cracking down on gun trafficking, improving mental health services and enhancing background checks.
While these sound like fine ideas, they do not go far enough. What about banning military-style assault weapons that have no legitimate use in our society? What about banning high-capacity ammunition that inflicts so much damage so quickly?
And what exactly are “evidence-based steps”? The only evidence we have is that what we are doing now is not working. When 6- and 7-year-olds are paying with their lives for the interests of the gun industry, that is not working and is just plain sickening.
I urge Kilmer and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to take strong action against gun violence on behalf of Washington voters.