Now is the Time to Combat Gun Violence

Indivisible Austin statement on the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida

Another day, another massacre in America and what we said after the Las Vegas shooting is still true:

“Thoughts and prayers are never going to stop these murderous acts of domestic terrorism. Senseless gun deaths will keep happening as long as Congress refuses to take action. What we need are common-sense gun control laws, which the public overwhelmingly supports.”

What’s different this time is that it’s an election year, with a groundswell of new activists ready to cast their ballots. Something else feels different: students who are not quite yet old enough to vote are speaking loudly to their representatives and letting them know that they will no longer stand for Congressional inaction in protecting our schools and our children.

We must vote out those who will not act to solve the deadly epidemic of gun violence that is sweeping our nation. Here’s a guide to where our current members of Congress stand on a number of recent issues related to the epidemic of gun violence.

“But Mental Health…!”

The GOP raises the specter of “mental health” every time there’s a mass murder, while simultaneously voting to gut the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and other mental health services. This is not a solution, it’s an excuse to do nothing.

On Feb. 28, 2017, President Trump signed HJ Resolution 40, a bill that made it easier for people with mental illness to obtain guns. Cosponsors of the bill included:

  • Michael McCaul (TX-10)
  • Bill Flores (TX-17)
  • Lamar Smith (TX-21)
  • Roger Williams (TX-25)
  • John Carter (TX-31)

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX-35) voted No. Senators Cornyn and Cruz voted for the Senate version. The bill passed largely on party lines.

People with mental illness are unfairly stigmatized in the gun control debate, and in fact some disability-rights organizations backed this bill. However, the GOP lacks any credibility on this issue, using it as a mechanism to deflect from the real solutions that they find politically impossible.

Concealed Carry Reciprocity

In December 2017, all our GOP House representatives also voted for “concealed-carry reciprocity”—which is a disingenuous way of saying that the least restrictive, most “gun-friendly” laws would be recognized across state lines. This would cause a race to the bottom on gun safety standards. All the reps listed above are co-sponsors of this legislation as well. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill this year.

Bump Stocks

Remember that “bump stock ban” that several of our Representatives and senators appeared to favor after October’s mass shooting in Las Vegas? It never happened.

The Gun Lobby

It’s no surprise that the NRA and other Second Amendment absolutists have given money to all of our GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate. But what is surprising is how cheaply our MoCs were bought. Except for Ted Cruz—who was a presidential candidate—our guys were all bought for less than the cost of a new Toyota.

Member of Congress 2016 gun lobby donations NRA rating
Ted Cruz $360,727 A+
John Cornyn $16,200 A+
Bill Flores $10,700 A
Michael McCaul $10,150 A
John Carter $9,500 A+
Roger Williams $4,750 A
Lamar Smith $9,650 A+
Lloyd Doggett $0 F

We can assume that these lawmakers, many of whom are millionaires, were not simply bought off by NRA donations, but by the backing of the NRA’s endorsement and rating. They believe, deeply, that there should be almost no restrictions on access to AR-15s and other weapons designed to kill other humans in large numbers. Are these the people you want representing you in Congress? Do they reflect your values?

Letter from NRA to Wisconsin Judicial candidat
This is what candidates fear from the NRA

Elections

Texas has the first primary in the nation, with early elections beginning on Tuesday, February 20. Now is the time to look at candidates’ positions on gun control and vote accordingly.

And even more importantly, we need to carry forward to November the hurt and rage we all feel about the massacres at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, in Las Vegas last year, and the inevitable shootings that will occur between now and the general election.

We really, absolutely cannot wait any longer to address the epidemic of gun violence in America.

From Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, the grassroots army of Everytown for Gun Safety:

“The millions of dollars and thousands of hours it takes to organize a march are better spent defeating @NRA darlings in the midterms, which are only 263 days away. 90% of Americans agree with us: it’s the lawmakers persuaded by money, not emotion, that we must defeat.”

Three more ways to combat gun violence in America

  1. Tell Members of Congress that thoughts and prayers are not enough
  2. Donate to Everytown for Gun Safety
  3. Read “Throw Them Out: An Action Plan to Kick out Lawmakers Beholden to the Gun Lobby”

One thought on “Now is the Time to Combat Gun Violence

  1. Thank you for this information Indivisible Austin. We are with you.
    To the students of Stoneman-Douglas and to gun violence victims and families…Have courage we are with you! So many have died and nothing has been done for so long! Our voices are not heard either because dark money drowns out our voices and votes also. We do everything to make our voices heard also and talking to our GOP lawmakers is like talking to a wall. We Stand with you…no one has listened because of dark blood money and these bad leaders who lie and who twist reality to justify their behavior. Who protects us? They are accountable because only love is real and their thoughts and prayers are fake. We stand with the students! What will you do? It is your choice..what will you do? Arm yourself or work for disarmament and cures and the future for children? Make America Healthy Again! We demand sensible gun laws ending automatic weapons, bump stocks, silencers, open carry and complete background checks. We demand Medicare for ALL including mental health care. End all dark money in politics that is killing us for too long! Bad leaders who do not care about truth but only what you look like and who are drunk with greed and power — who take dark money and do nothing good…pray for yourselves you are accountable. We are done with your lies that let money scream the loudest.

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