The Las Vegas Massacre of Oct. 1, 2017

Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Responds to

the Oct. 1, 2017 Las Vegas Massacre

On 10/1/17, 58 people were killed and around 500 injured in the largest mass shooting in modern American history.  This number was made possible with the aid of a bump stock device which effectively converts a semiautomatic weapon into an automatic one, similar to a machine gun.  A former Iraq Vet concert goer later told NPR it was like the warfare he’d experienced in Iraq.

There have been multiple mass shootings since 26 children and educators were fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 0f 2012.  To date, Congress has failed to demonstrate the moral courage to enact a single piece of meaningful legislation to decrease gun violence in the US. The gun lobby spends tens of millions to support candidates who comply with their dictates. Sadly, Congress members have placed their own re-election above the public safety of their constituents.  As American citizens, we have the power of our voices and votes to compel our elected representatives to act on our behalf.  As Unitarians, we have a moral imperative to live our principles.  As such, we need to support the inherent worth of every person and work towards a world that is safe, just and peaceful.

In 1991, NJ passed an Assault Weapons Ban into law.  In 1994, Congress took NJ’s example and passed a National Ban on Assault Weapons.  In 2004, Congress, under George W. Bush, allowed this law, which had a sunset clause, to expire. Assault weapons are designed for use in battle and have no place on our streets. It is time to reinstate the National Assault Weapons Ban.

Secondly, we need universal background checks.  Ninety percent of Americans support this. Universal background checks would help us keep guns out of the hands of individuals who are dangerous to themselves or others. This includes those convicted of domestic abuse, felons and the seriously mentally unstable.  It would stem the rate of gun fatalities by suicide, which represents more than 60% of the annual gun deaths.

With crisis comes opportunity.  Make your voice heard by contacting your federal representatives in the House and Senate. Urge your representatives to reinstate the National Assault Weapons Ban and Universal Background Checks today.

Those interested in learning more can contact Jeannine Coyne, the UULM Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chair at jeanninemcoyne@outlook.com.

Jeannine M Coyne

Chair, UULM of NJ  Gun Violence Prevention Task Force

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