Bob Englehart,

House Sit-In a Welcome Sea Change in Gun Violence Prevention

The Public Wants Action, not Condolences

The Santa Barbara Coalition Against Gun Violence applauds the actions of the Democratic House members. Their courage has changed the long struggle to force Republicans to face the fact the American public wants action. We have had far too many moments of silence. Prayers and condolences are not what grieving parents and the public want. We are all affected by gun violence and demand action to fight the virus of gun violence that has infected our nation with lethality and with the blood of innocents on a daily basis.

We are inspired by the words and deeds of Democratic House members. Lois Capps, our Congressional representative, participated in this historic moment. She has stood 100 percent for gun violence prevention and currently has a bill, Pause for Safety, that would prevent the emotionally ill from purchasing firearms for a determined time.

More than 85 percent of Americans want to close the gun show loophole — many are both gun owners and Republicans. When are the GOP toadies to the NRA going to listen to their constituents? These are people in their communities who could be the next victims. Do we really want our children in school to be practicing how to keep from being shot, riddled full of holes from military-style AR-15 weapons? This is a lethal firearm, considered the most popular gun by American gun owners, whose only purpose is to kill as many people as fast as possible.

There are 337 million firearms in America, more guns than people in the country.

Enough is enough. If you chose to be a gun owner, that is now your Second Amendment right. But that does not mean any gun, anywhere, any time. The two-thirds of Americans who chose not to own guns should not live in fear they or family members are in danger of being shot in schools, malls, churches, gay bars, or public venues.

We must stop this carnage now. Each year more than 32,000 people are killed, and 100,000 more are wounded by firearms What do we want: 1) close the gun show loophole, 2) prevent people on the no-fly list, potential terrorists, from purchasing firearms, 3) pass a comprehensive ban on military-style assault weapons, and 4) ban large capacity magazines.

Look to California. We lead the nation with our comprehensive gun violence prevention laws and continue to work on more ways to reduce gun violence in California. There are currently 11 gun violence prevention bills working their way through our Legislature. Yes, Congress, take a lesson from California, a state where gun deaths from both homicide and suicide are in a steep decline in comparison to nation-wide gun deaths.

Santa Barbarans, applaud House Democrats and encourage others to do as they have done. Take a stand, get involved. Gun violence has occurred in our community. Work to reduce the virus of gun violence, and join the Coalition Against Gun Violence. @sbcoalition

Toni Wellen is chairperson of the Coalition Against Gun Violence.

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