By now, you’ve probably seen The Onion headline from years ago that gets re-published and shared widely every time there’s a mass shooting in America:n “‘No Way to Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”
That about sums it up.
We have 42 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns, yet Americans make up just 4.4 percent of the global population. And we didn’t need statisticians to tell us this, but since they did all the work anyway, it turns out literally all the evidence shows that places with more guns have more homicides. But if statistics didn’t matter before 2017, why should they matter now?
Every time another mass shooting happens, we get to relive the pathetic excuse for a public gun control debate in America. Some people are asking questions like “isn’t our right to not get shot while just living our normal lives more important than our right to easily access guns?” Meanwhile, the other side is throwing toys from the pram, stocking up on ammo, and screaming obscenities in defense of the 2nd amendment. So, you know, it’s going about as well as every other political conversation right now.
But right before a middle-aged white guy caused the deadliest mass shooting in American history in Las Vegas, two new pieces of legislation deregulating guns were already working their way through Congress. Republicans and the NRA were hoping to push them through without a whole lot of hoopla.
The first measure is buried inside another laughably named bipartisan legislative package called the Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act - or the SHARE Act. You see, those good old Republicans care. They care about your hearing, well, not your hearing (obviously) but sportsmen’s hearing. And they would just like to protect those sportsmen’s auditory senses by making it easier for everyone to buy and use silencers on their firearms.
Maybe Hollywood is to blame for the image problem, but silencers don’t seem like the sort of thing that non-murderous assassins need. What sportsmen need are ear plugs. As Everytown for Gun Safety points out, “the distinctive noise that a gun makes is one of its most important safety features: when people hear a gunshot, they know to run, hide, protect themselves or notify law enforcement.”
Earlier this year, Congress also introduced a bill they're calling "concealed carry reciprocity.” If passed, this bill would force all 50 states to recognize the concealed carry laws of other states, no matter how weak their standards. This bill is backwards in two ways: first, someone from a state with weaker permit restrictions would be able to legally carry a concealed weapon around in a state with more robust permit restrictions. But also, states don’t have to give out permits just to their own residents. So, under this law, everyone - whether under age or with a criminal conviction - would likely be able to obtain concealed carry permits from the state with the lowest permit restrictions without ever setting foot in the state where the permit was issued. In fact, this is already the case among 32 states, with Utah currently winning this stampeded to the bottom. But this new law would open it up nationwide, regardless of your state’s laws. So much for “state’s rights.” Of course, right after Las Vegas, the NRA began pushing their allies in Congress harder than ever to pass this bill.
So, once again, pick up the phone and call, or get on your Stance app. Tell your members of Congress - and your governors - that you oppose lifting restrictions on gun silencers and want the measure removed from the SHARE Act. Tell them that you also oppose the concealed carry reciprocity bill that would completely undercut states with strict permit laws. Maybe throw in that you’re sick and tired of politicians who answer to the creeps at the NRA instead of the people.
It’s a tough time for the gun control movement, but Everytown for Gun Safety is going full steam ahead. if you haven’t already, check out Everytown.org, sign up for text action alerts, look for actions and meetings taking place near you, and take part in their “Don’t Gut Our Gun Laws” postcard campaign. The pre-written letter for the postcard can also double as a call script for the issues we’ve highlighted today.
So, if protecting the few effective gun laws we have is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Telling Congress Not to Gut our Gun Laws via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Tell Congress that you oppose the concealed carry reciprocity bill.
Find an Everytown for Gun Safety action or meeting near you
Sing up for Everytown action alerts via text
H.R.38 - Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (Congress.gov)
H.R.3668 - SHARE Act of 2017 (see Sections 1502-1507) (Congress.gov)
Why a Congressional Ban on Bump Stocks Is Unlikely (The Atlantic)
How I Got Licensed to Carry a Concealed Gun in 32 States by Barely Trying (Mother Jones, 2013)
Posted October 13, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1139: In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting (Gun Control)