Where does gun control go from here?

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Earlier this week, many of our blogger friends came together with Mayors Against Illegal Guns in support of common sense gun safety regulations that aim to make our communities safer. We joined @DemandAction on Twitter to talk why need action from our leaders to:

  • Require a criminal background check for every gun sold in America
  • Ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines
  • Make gun trafficking a federal crime, with real penalties for “straw purchasers”

I learned so much from our work with Demand Action. For instance, did you know that in the US, women are 11 times more likely to be killed by a gun than in any other developed nation? Or that more Americans support gun background checks than believe Elvis is dead?

On Tuesday, we got great news that background checks for gun purchases had cleared its first hurdle in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Committee also approved a ban on more than 157 types of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Many believe the ban won’t make it out of Committee. But public pressure to keep it can make  a difference!

So where do we go from here? As these two pieces of legislation head toward the full Senate it’s now more important than ever to call your senators and voice your support for common sense gun control laws.

I have a strange personal history with guns. My dad hunted occasionally, but I did not grow up in a gun-owning family. As an adult I have shot several of the scariest assault rifles out there, including a “street sweeper” and an AK-47. I spent a lot of time in South Africa, a culture where guns are endemic and the notion that women need to know how to shoot to protect themselves is pervasive. Indeed, there I was in Johannesburg, practicing on a panoply of weapons in the name of self-defense. I felt that day as I’ve felt every time since when I’ve shot a gun back at home: a total sense of powerlessness and grief.

A culture that believes assault weapons are an answer to anything has a sickness. Adam Lanza shot 152 bullets in five minutes at Newtown. Had he only had access to smaller magazines, he could not have killed as many children.

Assault weapons are not about hunting or safe use of firearms for recreation or self defense, in my opinion. And as my friend who is a frequent and skilled hunter just told me, no hunter worth their salt uses an assault rifle.

Please join me in fighting for sane gun laws. Poll after poll shows the majority of Americans wants this to happen. This is not a fringe issue.

Head over to DemandAction.org and use their call tool to get in touch with your senators’ offices. It only takes a few minutes -- an intern or staffer will make a note of your call and stance on the issue. That’s it! I hope you’ll join me in speaking out! You can also share any of these photos from Demand a Plan on Facebook.