Editor’s Note: In the shadow of the horrific shootings at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday, as the victims are being remembered, the debate over guns begins anew. California’s senior Senator Dianne Feinstein will play a prominent role in that debate. Over the weekend, she announced she would introduce a bill to reinstate an assault gun ban.
The debate has already begun in California. We present below a pronouncement from Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom in the wake of the shootings and have also published a counter article from Katy Grimes.
For those calling for the postponement of any discussion of gun and mental health policy in America – you are wrong.
We postponed after the President and his press secretary, James Brady were shot more than 30 years ago. We postponed after the tragedy in Columbine 13 years ago. We postponed after Virginia Tech five years ago. We postponed after Representative Gabriel Giffords was shot in 2011. We postponed in July when a mentally disturbed James Eagan Holmes opened fire in a crowded movie theatre. And earlier this week, people said it was too soon to talk about gun and mental health policy when a gunman opened fire at a crowded mall in Oregon.
Today, President Barack Obama addressed the nation from the White House briefing room named for James Brady and now we turn to our political leaders to finally and decisively act.
Prayers are important. We are a nation that always prays at times of great tragedy. But prayer is not enough as we learn in James 2 14-26, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works…Faith without works is dead.”
Today is a clarion call to all leaders, regardless of political party, to act purposefully. Senseless gun violence is not simply about gun control. It must also include meaningful discussion of mental health policy in America. Political parties must be realistic – Democrats can’t draw the line in the sand at banning all guns and Republicans can’t dig in on the status quo.
The NRA and the gun lobby are not supportive the President and now is the time for him to give them a real reason. The President must call the question. Put the gun lobby on the bench. Call on every member of congress to step out from behind the money and power of the gun lobby and act before we are lulled back into a false sense of security and forget to have the conversation again until the next tragedy. There are families in Connecticut, Oregon, Virginia, California, Arizona, Colorado, Wisconsin and every other state that have suffered loss due to gun violence and they do not want a postponement this debate any longer.
How many more people have to die before we decide the time is right to have this debate and take action? Now is a time for prayer…and leadership.