February 15, 2018
by Elliot Fineman
National Gun Victims Action Council
Yet again, an unspeakable tragedy has struck at a U.S. school––– the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It has been followed by a unified voice of lawmakers, gun violence prevention groups and the general public calling for federal action to halt the gun violence epidemic.
The fact is, however, as seen in the chart below, change that would prevent these school tragedies and halt the gun violence epidemic is not possible at the federal level at this point because mass shootings make federal lawmakers more hostile to gun safety laws. Nor can it be halted at the state level. Imagine seatbelt or drunk driving laws mandated in a few states as a solution for safe driving compared with a national policy.
As can be seen in the chart, after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, both Senators in 17 states voted against Universal Background Checks (UBCs)––a background check for every gun sold. After the San Bernardino shooting in 2015, that number jumped to both Senators in 20 states voting against UBCs. And after the 2016 Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting––the deadliest shooting in U.S. history before Las Vegas––the number jumped to both Senators in 23 states voting against UBCs. That represents a 35 percent increase of federal lawmakers hostile to gun safety laws since Sandy Hook.
After the Las Vegas 2017 slaughter, gun safety laws were not even brought up for a vote. Republicans in Congress stated that they did not consider the Las Vegas shooting, in which 58 were killed and 851 injured, to be a reason for changing existing gun laws.
Given this bleak track record is there any realistic hope for halting school shooting tragedies and the gun violence epidemic? Are we at a dead end? Absolutely not! Under the We’re Done Asking© program––detailed in my book to be published this summer––the public will see how a combination of novel legal strategies, economic levers and corporate involvement can force hostile federal lawmakers to take the necessary action.
Further, in the book, I show how four simple steps can overcome the NRA’s intentionally crafted myths which have prevented federal action and perpetuated the gun violence epidemic we have been forced to live under.
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About: National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC) is a non-profit network of gun victims, survivors, the faith community and ordinary people leveraging their buying power to change America’s gun laws. NGVAC initiated the successful action that caused Starbucks to change its gun policy. NGVAC pursues novel legal strategies to reduce gun violence and encourages corporate involvement.