Both President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney have said they are "deeply saddened" for the victims of recent mass shootings, but neither has said what they intend to do to reduce the chances of the next one. Obama has recently come out against assault weapons, but stopped short of actually proposing legislation or suggesting a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban. All he had to say was that our leaders should "do something about this senseless violence." He has also been completely silent on any other gun issue, except for relaxing them (allowing guns in national parks and on AmTrak trains). Romney has said bluntly that he isn't for passing any new laws to restrict guns (while at the same time hypocritically saying "Clearly there's going to have to be consideration given to how it is these tragedies could be prevented"), even though as governor he had passed more stringent gun regulations, including banning assault weapons in his state.
Words and condolences aren't enough. We need action to stop the madness.
Given the horrifying statistics, the 100,000 shootings a year, and the overwhelming state of gun violence in our country that makes other advanced nations stare in shock at us, I have one very urgent question for our presidential candidates:
As president over the next four years, what actions do you intend to take to reduce gun violence?
The first presidential debate is on October 3, and it will take place within 10 miles of both the Aurora shooting and the Columbine High School shooting.
Please go to this website and sign the letter asking that Mr. Lehrer ask the candidates about their plan to reduce gun violence:
We are better than this, as a nation. Let's make a new trajectory for our communities away from gun violence.
UPDATE (10/5/12): The first debate did not include a question, or any comment from the candidates, regarding gun violence or gun legislation. Let's hope they will in future debates. See my post from today regarding the debate.
UPDATE (10/13/12): Mitt Romney today released a statement regarding his views on a number of topics, including gun regulation. From an article:
He said he does not believe that the United States needs additional laws that restrict the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms and believes in the safe and responsible ownership and use of firearms and the right to lawfully manufacture and sell firearms and ammunition.
"[Mitt] recognizes the extraordinary number of jobs and other economic benefits that are produced by hunting, recreational shooting, and the firearms and ammunition industry, not the least of which is to fundwildlife and habitat conservation," his campaign said. "Mitt will enforce the laws already on the books and punish, to the fullest extent of the law, criminals who misuse firearms to commit crimes. But he does not support adding more laws and regulations that do nothing more than burden law-abiding citizens while being ignored by criminals. Mitt will also provide law enforcement with the proper and effective resources they need to deter, apprehend, and punish criminals."
Clearly, reducing gun violence by improving laws is not a priority for Romney.