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Holding Gun Violence Apologists Accountable

Today is National Gun Violence Awareness Day and it has never come at a more critical time.

The unprecedented series of mass shootings make it more urgent than ever to reduce the carnage not just in our schools, hospitals and supermarkets but our neighborhoods. Twenty mass shootings have taken place in the U.S. since the tragedies in Uvalde and Buffalo, with Tulsa marking the 233rd mass shooting in 2022.

Though Republicans in the Senate have prevented even modest congressional action we are not helpless. Working with Oregon victims of gun violence I wrote a report, Enough is Enough, which details simple common sense steps to reduce gun violence.

The apologists for gun violence claim gun safety measures don't matter. That is a lie. States with more gun safety protection have less gun violence. California, with some gun safety protections, is safer than Texas, which has none.

I have worked throughout my career to earn and maintain my "F" rating from the NRA. But I know there is more that we can and should do to protect our families.

An important first step is to support courageous politicians who stood up to the NRA and the enablers of gun violence. My congressional colleague Lucy McBath became a candidate for Congress after her son was murdered by someone who was angry how loud his music was playing. Lucy made gun safety a centerpiece of her campaign. She won in Georgia and was reelected on a gun safety platform.

In Congress and in Oregon, we must support people who fight for gun safety, and hold those accountable who are enabling the NRA and their allies.

In Oregon we have a very clear example in this election of where gun safety should be a defining issue. One candidate, Tina Kotek, has consistently voted in favor of stronger gun safety laws. Her opponents Republican Christine Drazan and now independent Betsy Johnson earned "A" ratings from the NRA. Both Drazan and Johnson voted against bills requiring safe gun storage. Johnson also voted against taking guns away from people who were a threat to themselves and to the public, known as "red flag laws." Johnson also opposed a bill to require background checks on private firearms sales. These are common sense ideas that are supported even by a majority of gun owners. Unless and until the enablers of the NRA and opponents of gun safety are held accountable we will continue to be frustrated.

This is an opportunity for an election that will help to advance gun safety. If we can do it in Oregon, the message may get through to Republicans in the U.S. Senate who have blocked the most modest steps.

From mass shootings to suicide, gun safety is commanding public attention and we must take advantage of the moment. America does not have to be the only developed nation that cannot protect our families from gun violence. Make this your political issue.

Here is a list of things you can do right now.


Posted on June 3, 2022.