Brian Kieran’s We the People: Showdown coming on gun control

America is headed for a showdown between gun manufacturers and citizens over gun control. Political groups and lobbyists will invade the debate to complicate and confuse the fundamental issue. Why can’t we have strong and consistent national gun regulations?

We the people must remind our elected representatives over and over again that they govern only with our consent. The majority of people want to change the ineffective regulations that exist today. No reasonable proponent of gun regulation reform wants a ban on guns but the NRA will do whatever it takes to block reform despite the cost in human lives. Why?

Money. More than $3.3 billion is spent annually to lobby Congress directly. That is more than $6 million per representative and senator. Can anyone fight such power? The people can fight it if they stay focused and stay engaged and stay angry.

It is time for people of conscience in America, angry over periodic mass killings in America, to stay that way. The people of this great republic when motivated have the strength of will to insist on change. We come from diverse backgrounds but can work together, despite the efforts of lobbyists to divide us.

This week, my family spent a lot of time in Methodist Hospital. My father-in-law had a heart attack and we spent anxious hours with other families waiting for news from doctors. In the hospital, in a corner, a Muslim woman prayed for her husband, an African-American family tearily shared vignettes of their father’s life and a Russian-American woman befriended my family in the waiting area.

These families are America and no matter how diverse our backgrounds, we share much more than we realize. We weep when hurt and bleed when wounded. We love our families and pray for a better life for our children. Persons who have lost loved ones to gun violence know gun regulations need reform. All reasonable people can support reforms to prevent emotionally or mentally disturbed persons from legally getting a firearm.

President Obama supports universal background checks on firearm sales. This would close one loophole for private sellers of guns that Mayors Against Illegal Guns estimates allowed six million gun sales in 2012 without background checks.

The NY SAFE Act can be a template for national gun regulation. If the nation had a SAFE Act, then the Alabama bunker bomber, who terrorized neighbors when he patrolled his property with a gun, would not have had the firearm he used to murder a school bus driver and kidnap a five-year-old autistic child.

The NRA has promised to challenge the SAFE ACT in court. They have no qualms using the courts to challenge the will of a state legislature when it suits their corporate masters. They will employ their puppets in Washington to stall or block any change to current laws.

The cooperation of conservatives like Republican Senator Tom Coburn (Oklahoma) is essential for action in Washington. Call him (202-224-5754) and let him know you are an American who wants meaningful reform to protect victims of gun violence.

We the people can exercise our power to prevent individuals and powerful groups from commandeering the political process. This means we must sacrifice time and attention to call and write legislators and to come together with neighbors and fellow citizens to work for change.

We have a duty to act and to ensure that our elected officials act to promote safety and happiness for the majority of citizens. This includes having Washington exercise fiscal and budget restraint. We should not burden future generations with an accumulation of debt that we ourselves ought to bear.

We must ensure these important reforms happen. The president must bring the Republicans to the table and agree to sensible budget reductions before the March sequestration deadline. We need gun regulation reform and a sensible budget now.

The people must stay informed and engaged in public debate and let our elected representatives know that we will do what is necessary to make these things happen.

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