The shooting at a US Congressional softball practice is the latest mass shooting among many that continue to plague our nation. It is shocking, of course, that an unstable person with a high powered semi-automatic rifle would seemingly target US Congressmen and staff with intent to kill or maim as many as possible-shooting Congressman Steve Scalese, two Congressional Aides and two police officers. But it is really not surprising- just another inevitable mass shooting where through many loopholes in our system,
unstable and dangerous people are able to get their hands on a deadly weapon.
This is the 154th mass shooting in 2017 alone!
And what will come of this? Will a shooting of a sitting Congressman push our Congress to act for the common good to protect Americans from deranged gunmen? I am not optimistic. After all, we recently experienced the horror of another Congress Woman, Gabby Giffords, being shot with 6 others who were killed. At the time, there was hope for real legislation to make Americans safer, but the debate passed amazingly with no national laws passed. What WILL happen is that the debate about guns will continue.
The gun rights community will push for more guns in more pockets for self protection, the ‘good guy with a gun’ theory. The NRA has a ‘guns everywhere, all of the time’ message, and pushes fear to help the gun industry sell as many guns as possible.
Gun Violence Prevention advocates believe the best remedy for our gun violence problem is to attack the root cause.... prevent
the criminal, mentally ill, domestically violent and suicidal from getting a gun to begin with. Right now, 40 percent of guns are sold without a criminal background check through private and internet sales. This makes no sense to anyone! There are good bills
in Congress right now that would make a difference: HR 810 in the US House would establish Universal Background checks
and increase the penalties for gun fencing and illegal trafficking. Could this bill pass Congress after this shooting? Not likely,
with Congress and the White House being heavily funded by the NRA.
However, in our PA General Assembly, Bill HB 1400 would close our loophole here in Pennsylvania on long gun private sales, requiring all sales of rifles, shotguns, and semi-automatic assault rifles like the one used in Alexandria, Sandy Hook and Aurora. This Bill has Bi-partisan sponsorship, and would be a step in helping make us safer here in PA.
Can our legislators step up to the plate, and start to plug the porous Federal system of gun laws that make it so easy to get a gun
that ISIS recommends to their soldiers to buy guns in the US? Not without enough Americans demanding change. Call your PA House Rep and ask him or her to Cosponsor HB1400. It is really up to all of us to help stem the tide of gun violence.
Tom BuglioPresidentGun Sense of Chester County