A Tribute to Sandy Hook: Sensible Gun Control

I received this email on one of the many listservs I am on.  It really resonated with me so I am reposting below.  I hope this tragedy is the wake-up call we desperately need.  First, we can tackle the easy solution.  Eliminating automatic and semi-automatic guns. No one needs that kind of firepower unless they are in Afghanistan.  Conduct more thorough background checks.  I was reading an article the other day that Canada has a 28 day waiting period and two people must vouch for you.  If you are truly a responsible gun owner, you can wait.

23 shootings since Columbine.  Daily one-off violence.  That’s not normal.  We must not throw up our hands and say…it happens.  Prevention needs to be the norm.  Not indifference.


For all the violence in our world and for all of the problems, I, like most parents, always believed that our elementary schools were a safe haven.  These schools were a place for a child’s imagination to run wild and where we could foster within our children a sense that anything was possible and that any one of them could change the world.

My friends, that innocence ended last Friday.  The tragic mass murder of teachers and children at Sandy Hook Elementary school was a horrific act of violence that has shaken this nation to its very core.  We can no longer console ourselves by pretending that this could never happen in our community, because the truth is it can happen anywhere.

Unfortunately these random acts of violence are not so random anymore.  Our children are being murdered and for far too long we’ve chosen political expediency over common-sense safety measures.  Over the years, as the news stories about each seemingly random mass shooting faded away to other news stories, so did our will to help alleviate the problem.

Those days must end.  We must act now. 

It’s time for a new era of leadership in Washington, not to restrict our freedoms as Americans but to take every little step we can to prevent the tragedies of Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook, and the far too many violent gun deaths that occur every day.

When Columbine awoke the nation to school violence, we cried as a nation and pledged to do everything possible to make sure such a tragedy could never happen on a school’s grounds again.  Unfortunately, we have done far from our best.

In comparison, when it comes to our national security we are willing to quickly adapt.  After the tragic terrorist attacks on 9/11 we all quickly adapted to tighter airport security measures because it was the patriotic thing to do.  When one terrorist attempted to board a plane with a bomb in his shoe, we all gladly lined up to take our shoes off at the airport.  However, since the Columbine shootings in 1999, we have witnessed 23 more school shootings and have reacted by making military style, semi automatic assault rifles easier to purchase.  Let me say that again, after witnessing 23 school shootings since Columbine our elected officials have responded by making assault weapons legal and easier to purchase, some without a background check.

If you listen to the politicians in Washington you would think our nation is equally divided on this issue…we are not.  The overwhelming majority of Americans from across the political spectrum agree that common-sense gun regulations do not restrict our freedoms, but make us safer.

That is why I’m calling on Congress to take immediate action to start saving lives.  We need a new assault weapons ban that makes military style, mass killing assault weapons illegal.  We need to end the use of large scale extended magazines filled with amour piercing bullets, and we must ensure that every person who purchases a firearm goes through a solid background check.

The American people will no longer accept the argument that just because we can’t prevent all gun deaths means that we should do nothing. We may not be able to root out all evil in the world, but that is not an excuse for inaction.

A final message to our politicians in Washington: We expect both Republicans and Democrats to come together to solve this problem.  The American people will no longer accept our elected officials hiding behind opaque campaign talking points.  They will no longer allow either party to exploit our safety for political gain.  Now is the time for real leadership in Washington.  The nation’s eyes will soon fall upon you and they are expecting you to act.  For the sake of our children and our children’s children we must act.  No more school children deserve to die at the hands of military style assault weapons because you didn’t have the courage of your convictions to take action.”

-Paul Hirschbiel

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