The number one cause of death for children is gun violence. Today, Memorial Day, we honor the fallen heroes of America’s wars. As a tribute to those who have served our country and given their lives, take action to honor the lives lost to gun violence on what have become our battlegrounds: schools, churches, theaters, grocery stores, and concerts. Like our military, the survivors of gun violence face a lifetime of PTSD.
When Uvalde parents are asked for DNA samples because that is the only way for the coroner to identify their dead children, we know that the weapon was military grade. These 4th graders’ smiling class pictures, full of hope and promise, remind us of all that we have lost.
In Del Mar and in California, we have passed laws that have reduced gun violence. Del Mar led the way with the first ordinance against “Ghost Guns,” and lead the effort for state legislation banning the sale of guns and ammunition at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Following our lead, Governor Newsom is expected to sign bills this year to end the sale of guns and ammunition on all state-owned Fairgrounds and to make ghost guns illegal. In February 2022, the governor came to the Del Mar Fairgrounds to announce proposed legislation that will allow California citizens to file civil lawsuits against gun manufacturers or distributors to stop the spread of gun violence.
The Second Amendment is not a license to kill. Gun violence is predictable and preventable. A proven way is to regulate access to military-style assault weapons that have been used in almost every mass murder in America. The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban reduced gun violence by 43%, and its expiration in 2004 increased the number of deaths by 239%. We have data that shows there is no good reason for an 18-year-old to be able to buy an AR-15. Red flag laws have proven they stop gun violence and suicides by gun. Universal background checks into a database will thwart criminal shootings.
We know that gun safety laws and regulations make a difference. For more than a year, Mitch McConnell and his Republicans in the Senate have stalled sensible gun bills passed by Democrats in the House of Representatives despite overwhelming American support for rational, effective gun legislation. The Senate’s inaction is costing lives.
Many Del Mar residents, Republicans and Democrats alike, are taking action, while others ask what they can do.
— Some are writing post cards to voters to help elect Senators in California and other states who will support gun violence prevention laws.
— I know individuals who have changed their registration from Republican to Independent, and let their elected officials know why.
— Some are using their political influence to persuade Republican Senators to pass stalled legislation.
— Some will march at the June 4 “Wear Orange” Rally in Encinitas or go to the June 11 “March for Our Lives” protest at the County Administration Building.
I’ve been asked about organizations that should be supported through volunteer efforts or donations. I recommend donations to: Brady United and Giffords Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence to support their research and legislative efforts; Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America for those who want to meet and work in the community on local races; and San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention for local intervention and prevention efforts. Our group, NeverAgainCA, supports people who will work strategically in California for effective legislation and education (NeverAgainCA does not accept donations); we are a resource for information and strategy.)
There is an election coming this Fall. From now through Tuesday, November 8, let your actions make our community and our country safer from gun violence—for you and those you love. Make sure that you vote as if your life – and our children’s lives – depend on it. Elect men and women who will stand up to the gun lobby and put common-sense gun regulations into law.
Rose Ann Sharp is the founder of NeverAgainCA. If you have questions or want more information: firstname.lastname@example.org