When gun reform didn't happen after Sandy Hook, I began to worry that there was nothing that could shake the NRA's hold on our legislators. After last week's tragedy in Parkland, Florida, I expected the same cycle of blame and forgetfulness to play out on the media again without any meaningful change. However, the response of Douglas High and students around the country have given me new hope that we will be able to accomplish substantial gun reform and prevent future tragedies. You may have seen Emma Gonzalez's amazing speech where she called out Trump and other politicians for taking NRA money and refusing to take any action on reforming America's lax gun laws. The speech was amazing, and the fact that our young people are refusing to be silent victims and are demanding change gives me great hope. I believe gun reform can happen, and I stand with these students as they speak truth to power and march for their lives.
The sad truth is that NRA-sponsored GOP representatives like Scott Taylor are true-believers and would act the same way even if they weren't paid. They want to prevent any measures that would keep Americans from having as many guns as they like with almost no restrictions. It doesn't matter if you're a domestic abuser, have mental illness, or are on the terrorist watch-list, Taylor and others put the 2nd Amendment over our children's right not to be shot dead in their classroom. It's appalling, and it goes against what the vast majority of Americans believe. It's also a fact that the NRA represents gun manufacturers, and not the millions of responsible gun owners across America who support common-sense gun reforms like universal background checks and waiting periods. Any politician who has taken money from the NRA and opposed gun reform should be voted out.
It's the height of hypocrisy when the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, goes out and says that we need to wait for "facts and data" before making any public policy. Republicans have effectively been blocking federal research on gun violence for the past twenty years. That's why one of the first pieces of legislation I will sponsor upon being elected will be the repeal of the Dickey Amendment, which prevents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from funding research on gun violence.
As a teacher, I know that President Trump and other pro-gun zealots' calls to arm teachers is preposterous. The only answer to gun violence is fewer guns, not more, and I intend to make sure that assault-style weapons like the AR-15 are kept off the streets and out of the schools of America.
I was honored and humbled to address my fellow citizens at the Candlelight Vigil To Stop Gun Violence in Virginia Beach earlier this week. We owe it to our children to do everything in our power to stop these senseless acts of violence. I want to thank Sonia Galvez for organizing the event and allowing me to address those that came out to hear and be heard.
My ask for you is that you support one of the various walkouts, marches, or assemblies that have been planned for the coming weeks, and that you add your voice to the chorus. I ask that you support honorable organizations fighting for reform, ones like Everytown For Gun Safety.
And lastly, I would like to ask for your support in our Congressional campaign to unseat Scott Taylor and help win back a Democratic majority in the House and Senate this fall. Please pledge your support by joining our campaign, volunteering, or sharing this blog post on social media.
Karen Powers Mallard