By Teresa Welsh |
Last Friday, I was surprised, and then outraged to hear National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre present what had been framed as a "meaningful response" to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. LaPierre's bizarre proposal—putting more guns and armed guards in schools filled with children—is not an answer to ending gun violence.
Take the Columbine High School tragedy as an example. A sheriff's deputy was at Columbine High School during the shooting, fired his weapon early, missed four times, and the total number of victims rose to 13. And then let's not forget that the deadliest shooting incident in the history of our nation, with 32 people killed and 17 injured, occurred at Virginia Tech in 2007, which had it's own police department. Another example is the massacre that occurred at the Fort Hood military base in 2009, where 13 people were killed and 29 were wounded. A military base is the definition of armed.
And then there is the issue of crossfire. Trained professionals often hit civilians in crowded shooting situations, like that which occurred at the Empire State Building earlier this year when nine bystanders were wounded by police. I can only imagine the carnage that a shooting crossfire could create in a school, and the fear that walking down corridors patrolled by armed guards could instill in our children.
History shows us that more guns, an armed guard at every school—or mall, movie theatre, spa, and other public places where violent mass shootings have recently occurred—isn't the answer. A big part of the answer is, however, advancing modern, common sense gun safety laws that protect our children and our communities.
I stand by the Second Amendment right to bear arms. But in the same way that we in our nation don't allow individuals to have nuclear arms, chemical weapons, or bazookas, we also now need to take another look at modern, high tech weaponry which can kill a large number of people in a very short time—and we must move quickly to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
When the NRA waited a week to respond to the shooting at Sandy Hook, I hoped against hope that the organization was at last going to help pass meaningful legislation that would make our streets, our schools, and our nation safer. I hoped that the NRA might—just might—agree that we need background checks for all gun purchases, to reinstate the ban on assault weapons, ban high capacity magazines, and support a gun trafficking statue to stop the illegal sale of guns. Instead, LaPierre suggested putting more guns in schools.
This flies in the face of the facts, not to mention sanity.
The time has come for elected leaders to pass sane, modern, common sense gun safety laws to protect our children and our communities.
On Friday, we got an unequivocal message from the NRA that it is not truly committed to ending gun violence and will do anything it can to continue to support the manufacture and sales of the guns that are killing our children and hurting our communities. We must send back an unequivocal message to our elected leaders that we will not give up until common sense gun laws prevail.
About Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner Cofounder and CEO of MomsRising
Erich Pratt Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America
Gene Hoffman Chairman of the Calguns Foundation.