On Tuesday, February 20, Lori Trahan published the following open letter on gun control to Washington. Trahan is a candidate to represent the Third District in Congress. She is a mother and currently lives in Westford, MA. Download this open letter as a PDF, and read more about Trahan’s proposed policies on gun reform.
“The people in the government who are voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and are prepared to call B.S.” –Emma González, Parkland High School student, 2/17/18.
The teenagers who survived last week’s deadly Parkland shooting have shown extraordinary courage to speak up with loud calls for gun reform. In the midst of grieving for their friends and family, they are the only ones who are able to see these tragedies for what they are: a failure of leadership.
To be sure, these shootings are happening so frequently that the visceral, painful reaction they once produced has become a blip of social media outrage. And it’s the same story every time. A horrific shooting happens. Countless signs were missed that the perpetrator showed signs of aggression or struggling with mental illness. Simple reforms would have stopped him from even getting the weapon. But then Republicans in power say it’s “not the right time” to discuss gun reform. And we move on.
What does it say about the state of our leadership in this country when the only ones making sense in a debate of this magnitude aren’t even old enough to vote?
Every year, 114,000 Americans are shot. There’s hardly a community that hasn’t been or won’t be impacted by gun violence. And yet we do nothing – a tacit admission that killing kids is okay.
As a mother, I can say with certainty that it is not okay that our children aren’t safe in their own schools. It’s not okay that a single person who hasn’t even turned 18 can acquire a deadly assault-style weapon and a bunch of magazines and take over a dozen lives. It’s not okay – and it’s up to us, the adults, to stop it.
It’s not as if we don’t know what the hold up is. The gun lobby overwhelmingly supports GOP candidates. In the 2016 election cycle, pro-gun organizations contributed $5.9 million to Republican campaigns, compared with $106,000 to those of Democrats.
With the GOP Congress throwing their hands up and President Trump blaming the FBI rather than addressing the real culprit, the time has come for Democrats to be the adults in the room.
As the voters of the Third District know, only we can break the disturbing cycle of offering condolences, wondering why we can’t do more and then moving on. We need to realize that our deepest and most sincere prayers will not keep our kids safe from gun violence. Laws will.
In Congress, I’ll stand on the side of protecting our children’s lives and fight for those laws.
I will ban the magazines and assault style military weapons designed for soldiers, not citizens (and certainly not children).
I will push the CDC to conduct substantive research on the public health implications of the prevalence of firearms in America.
I will push for comprehensive background checks at every point of sale.
And I will fight to create a Select Committee on Gun Violence, so we can actually bring people together around this issue and come up with sensible solutions.
Having worked in Congress for a decade under Marty Meehan to successfully pass campaign finance reform in a Republican Congress, I know a thing or two about getting things done and getting money out of politics — and bringing people together on both sides of an issue. That’s what we need now.
We cannot continue to stand by and let the frequency of these mass shootings lull us into helpless resignation. Gun violence should not continue to fall victim to partisan politics. Our children’s lives are at stake.