Wednesday, February 28, 2018

We Need Commonsense Gun Laws

Two weeks ago, there was a mass school shooting in Florida. This one was different though, even from the first press conference. I watched the school superintendent tell the media that his community wanted to talk about gun laws. The time is now.

It was a total reversal from the national discourse that follows most shootings. We’re not taking a break for thoughts and prayers. We can think, pray, and act. We can march and contact elected officials. We can make a change.

One week ago, a child in my daughter’s seventh-grade class went to school and made some sort of threat against the whole school or certain students. Details are hard to come by, but the child’s threat involved a gun. Some say it’s supposed to happen March 6th. Our school superintendent sent a formal letter via email. It indicated that parents weren’t notified on the day the threat happened because police and school personnel were “investigating.” The letter sounded like the threat was thought to be a comment made in jest. It was suggested that we talk to our kids about inappropriate comments. The school promised to do what’s necessary to keep students safe. We’re supposed to contact local police if we have any questions.

A few months ago, we got a similar letter about a bullet found in the school parking lot. It hadn’t been fired so, you know, no big deal. Just somebody dropped their kid off at school and some ammo rolled out of the car. Let’s not make a thing out of it. Remember, the letter said, it is illegal to bring a gun onto school grounds.

Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Gun Law State Scorecard (

These things are a big deal. There are too many guns in my community. There are too many in yours too. The kid with his strangely specific “joke” threat most definitely has guns in his neighborhood. Very likely, he has guns in his house.

Enough is enough. This is the moment when we need to enact commonsense safe gun laws. Our society can no longer tolerate the disaster and resulting constant fear caused by automatic and semi-automatic weapons in our community. We need to restrict the purchase of ammunition. We need to ban assault weapons.

Last weekend, after many days researching gun laws and the corresponding rates of violent gun deaths in various states, I passed by one of our local fire halls. The parking lot was overflowing with cars. The VFD sign said, “Gun Bash, Saturday, February 24.”

I don’t really know what kind of gun you can “win” at a gun bash. I just know that my little girl felt sick when she thought about going to school Monday because some kid said he was going to shoot people. And even just for that, I think it’s time to dream up a different fundraiser.

Check out these resources to join the crusade for safe schools and communities:

We can do better. Take action now. #neveragain