Op-Ed from the Guilford County Democratic Party
August 27, 2018
On Sunday, August 26, at a gaming tournament in Jacksonville, FL, young people were again the victims of injury and death because the adults in this country have failed them. The mass shooting at GLHF Game Bar has left three people dead, including the gunman, and at least 11 people injured. The Jacksonville Police tweeted warnings Sunday afternoon to everyone in the area to stay in place. “We will get to you. Please don’t come running out.” As it turns out, the gunman had been hospitalized in the past for mental illness.
Why do we let this happen? Partly because Republicans, the purveyors of fiction and fear, have dished out a concoction of cherry-picked anecdotes and dire predictions so they can generate fear among their base. The unsurprising outcome has been a flood of misguided activism and political donations from people who have been made afraid by politicians and from the companies eager to sell to that fearful base. Every day, the conservatives in this country are being assaulted with lies. “They’re coming to take your guns. They’re going to repeal the Second Amendment. People need to protect themselves and their families against armed intruders wanting to kill them. The more guns, the better.” Falsehoods. Deceptions. A sham. Flat out, unadulterated lies. But Republican politicians spit them out reflexively so they can rake in the cash from those they’ve scared and from those in the gun industry who profit off the public’s fear.
Because of this, our country has 50 million gun-owning households that collectively own 393 million guns, which averages eight guns per household. Forty-five states allow their citizens to walk about freely with guns strapped to their hips or cradled in their arms. Thirty states have no permitting requirements, meaning anyone over 18 can buy a gun, with no gun training or sanity required, something the Jacksonville gunman could do. Ninety-three people die at the point of a gun every day, resulting in 33,945 deaths a year.
However, Democrats are at fault here, too. We have not turned out to vote in numbers large enough to stop the lies and the careless deregulations of guns. Some of our politicians have weakly opposed gun regulations because they’re in a tight re-election race and their victory counts on Republican votes too. Some take blood money from the NRA and industry lobbyists. We want to protect our kids, and it’s our duty, but we just can’t seem to do it.
It is time to stand up to this and overcome the gun idiocy in our country. Demand that your leaders do something to bring about common-sense gun reform in this country and preserve the Second Amendment at the same time. Our First Amendment right to free speech is regulated; you can’t publicize troop movements or yell “fire!” in a crowded theater. This proves that our rights can have limits, we should demand limits on gun purchase and use.
So as adults and Democrats, we proudly join with our young people, like the students from Marjorie Stoneman-Douglas High School and millions of others, to fight against the unfettered access that anyone of any mental state has to guns. We’ll turn out to protest, turn out to serve, and turn out to vote. Because democracy belongs to the people who show up.
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