The problem of gun violence in America is complicated. The solution, while difficult, is not.
Hundreds of thousands of March For Our Lives protesters across the nation, however, pointed out this weekend any remedy begins with a simple endeavor: “Vote them out.”
That’s become the rallying cry of teens in Colorado and the country fed up with the nation’s virtual indifference to endless school shootings and massacres.
The demand to “vote them out” began just hours after the Feb. 14 gun massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. “Them” are members of Congress and state legislatures who actively or passively work to undermine desperately needed, common-sense gun-safety laws. They are legislators who say effective gun laws won’t reduce gun violence. They parrot part of the National Rifle Association propaganda, supported by neither reputable data nor good sense.
In what could have been just another sickening mass shooting at a school has also become an unexpected catalyst in the biggest, most energized and potentially effective push against the entrenched gun regime in decades, and maybe ever.
The March For Our Lives movement could be successful because of a suddenly overwhelming demand among Americans for stricter gun laws, or because the #NeverAgain crusade is simply capping the long-overdue sea change in American opinion about gun safety.
A poll last week conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found that nearly 70 percent of adults now favor stricter gun control. A growing list of prominent, important businesses are pushing back against the NRA and supporters in Congress and state capitols.
These are numbers that state and federal lawmakers cannot ignore. Given the self-preserving nature of most elected officials, including those in Colorado, few will disregard how the political tide has turned. And those who earnestly believe the NRA pap have no business crafting public policy.
Republicans and timid Democrats now must choose between gun-safety acquiescence or unemployment rather than continue to be disinterested in the firearms debate or genuinely fearful of the gun-industry and its relentless base fixated on rebuffing all gun legislation.
Just how the government will makes us all safer from gun violence is unclear and difficult, but we clearly know it won’t happen with lawmakers who say guns are not the problem, or even part of the problem. It’s ludicrous to think or say that prolific guns — especially those designed to inflict widespread human carnage — are not a large contributor to America’s plague of gun violence. It’s just as foolish, however, to say that they are the only problem.
Preventing gun massacres won’t happen just by enacting gun-control legislation, but America will never be made safer from gun violence until we do pass gun-control laws. And that won’t happen in Colorado or in Congress until voters apply pressure from the ballot box.
It’s not enough to just say “vote them out.” Those who understand the simple truth of the movement must now commit to the hard work to make it all happen. The powerful “Vote them out” crusade is worthless without the dedication and resolution to make good on the passion behind it.
It means masses of volunteers registering people to vote, educating them how to vote and ensuring they cast their ballots. It means business proponents of reducing gun-violence in America must pony up money to create and sustain campaigns against the Goliath NRA and the gun industry. It means newspapers must have the temerity to elevate gun-violence-politics as an editorial and endorsement touchstone, helping voters understand what candidates really say about gun-legislation, how they vote and whom they take money from.
Above all, it means that every American make resolving gun violence an election priority, and that they vote for candidates willing to enact meaningful gun-safety bills. Colorado and the United States will never solve this problem until we do.