Baby Steps Forward, Lurches Backward
Debra Schrishuhn for the PDA National Team
Two weeks ago, Illinois banned the sale and distribution of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and rapid-firing devices. Within hours of the governor signing this law, some sheriffs and other law enforcement officers swore they would not enforce it. A few days ago, a judge ordered a limited stay on enforcement of the new ban while lawsuits proceed.
And the litany of mass shootings across the nation rolls on. Eleven people celebrating the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park Saturday night were gunned down by an assailant wielding a magazine-fed semi-automatic assault pistol with an attached extended large capacity magazine. On Monday, the small coastal town of Half Moon Bay near San Francisco saw two shootings with at least seven victims. Halfway across the country, two students were killed and an adult critically wounded in a shooting in downtown Des Moines, IA.
In fact, 39 mass shootings (at least four people shot) have been reported in January, 2023, from Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, CA, and Enoch City, UT, to Rockford, IL, Tunica Resorts, MS, Ocala, FL, High Point, NC, besides multiple shootings in Houston, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and elsewhere. Enough is too much.
Of the estimated 250,227 non-combat gun-related deaths worldwide in 2019 (statistics often lag), 65.9% occurred in just six countries: Brazil, United States, Venezuela, Mexico, India, and Colombia. The U.S. has more guns than people.
PDA applauds the first tentative steps Congress took last year toward sensible gun safety laws. We must do more at both the federal and state level, so that people do not have to live in fear going to school, work, worship, or recreate. That’s why every candidate we endorse supports expansion of serious gun safety legislation.
Help us recruit and support anti-gun violence champions in Congress. Our future, and our kids’ futures, depend on it.