National Day of Action on Gun Violence

by the Stanford Democrats

“Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence — they deserve a simple vote.” — Barack Obama

In the United States, there are nearly four gun stores for every grocery store. There are almost as many guns in this country as there are people.  More importantly, 1,894,139 years of life are lost to gun violence every single year, while more than 30,000 people are killed and more than 200,000 are injured because of guns each year.

These deaths were not a result of self-defense — they were a result of crime. In the course of a day, a fifteen-year old boy from Prince George’s County, Maryland was robbed and fatally shot after a long day of school. Hours later in Jacksonville, Florida, a woman was shot twice after a fight over a parking spot. Senseless gun violence has become routine. “So it goes,” wrote Kurt Vonnegut over 40 years ago; since, we have become even more desensitized. It is our apathy that must change — it is our silence that is most deafening. (Someone has just been shot by a gun.)

The ease with which citizens can get guns in the United States is alarming, yet preventable. Loopholes allow gun show attendees to bypass any sort of background check to purchase firearms. Extended magazines turn guns into mass murder weapons and assault weapons are sold freely in cities across the nation. From Aurora to Newtown, from Virginia Tech to Columbine, an endless list of shootings has riddled our nation with tragedy. (Someone has just been shot by a gun.) When domestic gun violence kills five times as many Americans a year than hostile fire killed in all of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, finding a solution to gun violence should be more than just a goal — it should be a moral imperative.

The Stanford Democrats, like the President and Congressional Democrats, are not suggesting banning guns. We understand the importance of traditional gun ownership and the Second Amendment. However, we are suggesting reform and regulation. Just four states require registration of firearms. Loopholes hamper the effectiveness of background checks and weaken our nation’s safety. Requiring universal background checks for private gun sales is not just something that earns bipartisan backing — it is something that 92% of Americans and even three quarters of NRA members support.  Limiting magazine capacities to prevent seemingly endless shooting sprees is a very reasonable regulation that could save countless lives.  (Someone has just been killed by a gun.)

We can and must demand change from our legislators. There is no need to sell armor-piercing bullets in stores across America. There is no need to sell guns that are stronger than most owned by our military in local markets. There is no need to witness yet another mass shooting, to watch caskets bury more lives prematurely lost. There is, however, a need to provide mental health services in our schools, just as there is a need to make our schools safer without placing more guns near our children. There is a need to act.

It is time to engage in a national dialogue on gun control now more than ever. Preventing just one more teenager from being killed after school, preventing just one more Newtown, preventing just one more woman from a fatal bout of road rage — that is something worth fighting for.

Yes, by the time you read this paragraph, yet another innocent person will have been shot by a gun. But, today, we can do something. Today, on the President’s National Day of Action, we can do our part. We can join our voices together to make our message clear and our voices heard. We can mobilize and utilize social media, to inform our friends and neighbors about a much-needed reform and a meaningful mission. We can and we must. It might just let a congresswoman talk to her constituents at the local market without fear. It might just let a family safely go to the movies on a Friday night.  It might just let a child have another birthday.  It might just save a life. #TheyDeserveAVote.

The Stanford Democrats the largest political group on campus, mobilizing for key campaigns and working for progressive change across the street and across the country.

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One thought on “National Day of Action on Gun Violence

  1. I’m a Democrat, and I support the President on many policy issue. But on this particular issue, I part ways. I have no problem with magazine capacity limitations and background checks. I think these are important and necessary to achieve the desired outcome. But I disagree with calls for a ban on sporting rifles, or as those unfamiliar with firearms call them, “assault rifles.”

    To be accurate, assault rifles are designed for combat and often fully-automatic weapons. But it appears that recent proposals call for a ban on many models of civilian rifles which are not fully-automatic. The typical AR (Armalite Rifle, not Assault Rifle or Automatic Rifle) – 15 made for civilian use is only able to fire semi-automatic, just like your every day handgun. In California, you are already limited to a 10-round magazine, just like a handgun. The caliber of the AR-15 is .223 or 5.56mm which is smaller than many handguns, for example 9mm, .40, .45, etc.

    Furthermore, in California, the magazine is incapable of a quick release feature, which prohibits a shooter from quickly reloading without the use of a tool. This means that when your 10 rounds are gone, you must remove the weapon from your shoulder, use a device to remove the magazine and then insert another. This significantly interferes with the ability to cause the mass tragedies that have occurred recently. If we want to make changes nationwide, that would be a good one to try.

    Thinking logically, a typical handgun can carry 10 rounds, fires semi-auto (meaning one round per trigger squeeze), and has quick release capabilities for fast reloading without even lowering the weapon. Yet, everyone is demonizing the AR-15 style rifles because they look scary and many people have never used one or know much about them. I keep hearing “these weapons were made for war.” Well I’ve been to war and I can assure you that an AR-15 purchased in a gun store in California is not going to do me any good in combat.

    If you want to prevent mass tragedies: Strengthen background checks, require substantial training prior to purchase of firearms, limit magazine capacity to a reasonable number, and make magazines incapable of quick release. An all out ban seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. There are plenty of safe and responsible gun owners that shouldn’t be demonized using scare tactics and tugging on the American people’s heart strings. What has happened is a tragedy, no one is denying that, but jumping to make public policy based on emotion and fear leads to bad public policy (Patriot Act, Japanese Internment). Make good public policy that addresses the problem in a reasonable way. This is my opinion.

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