Dec. 14, 2012, was my wakeup call. I was woefully ignorant about the gun violence in this country prior to that day. When I heard of the senseless killings of those children and teachers in Newtown, CT, I was brought to my knees in my living room in horror and sadness. I know Newtown; I lived there. It is just like my current Hudson Valley home, a small town filled with great caring people. That day, I counted down the minutes until 3:05 p.m. when I could go pick up my son from Kindergarten. I ran all the way to the school, held him in my arms and did not want to let him go.
On that day that I realized that my son and daughter are not safe in this country. There are eight children every day who die in this country from gun violence. There have been 3,524 deaths from gun violence since Newtown alone. This week marked the anniversary of the Virginia Tech Massacre where 32 people were murdered. April 20 is the anniversary of Columbine, where 15 people were slaughtered. It does not have to be this way. There are common-sense gun violence prevention steps that can be taken to lessen the chance of these tragedies happening again.
And there was a glimmer of hope that this might finally happen at a federal level with the Manchin-Toomey Amendment. These two brave senators worked across party lines and drafted an expanded background check bill that was easy, smart and patriotic. It was really the minimum of what this country should pass at a federal level to protect our families and communities. Infuriatingly, though, 45 senators voted against this bipartisan bill. The vote of these senators was cowardly and ignored the will of the American people. Over 90% of Americans support expanded background checks. There is no reason not to. A background check doesn’t even come close to impacting someone’s Second Amendment right. However, these legislators voted in favor of special interests instead of the best interests of Americans.
And so I say, shame on them. Shame on them! We in New York State are lucky to have Senators Gillibrand and Schumer as our elected officials, because they are truly representing us, the 90%, on this issue, not the special interest groups. And to them, I say thank you, and continue to fight for common sense gun legislation in our country. In a civilized nation such as ours, over 30 people dying every day from gun violence is far too many. And if you include the additional 50 people per day who commit suicide by gun, you’re looking at 80 deaths per day. This is not right. This will not stand.
And so, to the 45 senators who did not listen to their constituents and chose money from the special interest groups over the will of their own people, I repeat—shame on them.
Oh, and they should know that, just like me, American moms are awake now. And we vote.
© 2013 Moms Demand Action-NY/Hudson Valley, all rights reserved.
[Alexandra Dubroff of Cold Spring, NY is a co-leader of the NY/Hudson chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She is the mother of two beautiful children.]