My oldest granddaughter is 16 years old. She’s smart, kind, and has a smile that lights up a room.
And I don’t know how to look her in the eye and tell her that the people her Gammy works with still won’t do one single thing about guns to keep her safe at school.
I don’t know how to tell her that we’ve failed her.
But I’ll tell you what has given me hope: the students in Parkland, Florida. Days after watching their friends and teachers die in front of them, they have taken to the news, social media, and the streets to fight to be the last mass shooting victims in America. If the grown ups won’t act, they will.
I wish that I could tell you that Congress was finally willing to do something about gun control after the shooting in Parkland. Democrats have bills to ban assault weapons. Bills to require universal background checks. Bills to prevent people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns. Bills to close the gun show loophole. Bills to ban bump stocks. Bills to fund Center for Disease Control research on gun violence. We could vote on any of those pieces of legislation right now.
But the Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House – and the truth is, I’m not hopeful. Even after Sandy Hook, and even when kids die every day deliberate shootings, accidental shootings, drive-by shootings, and random shootings, the Republicans have blocked even the tiniest gun reform laws to protect our children and communities.
And it’s so much worse than that. Just in December, the House of Representatives passed a pro-NRA bill that would force every state – even states like Massachusetts with tough gun laws – to recognize all concealed-carry gun permits issued by any other state.
It doesn’t have to stay that way. The moment that members of Congress fear for their jobs – the moment they realize that students, teachers, moms and dads, and concerned people all across the country will hold them accountable if they don’t pass stronger gun laws – that will be the moment that change will happen.
So watch and share the powerful video of Parkland student Emma Gonzalez. Join a group (or three) like Giffords Courage to End Gun Violence, Everytown, or the Brady Campaign.Talk to your friends – even your Fox News-loving friends – about why common-sense gun reform isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue, it’s an American issue. It’s a moral issue.
We can be more powerful than the NRA. We just need to fight for it.