Tag Archives: gun control
Last week at the White House, President Barack Obama stood before a group of mothers whose children had died in shootings and renewed his call for reforms to U.S. gun laws. “I haven’t forgotten about those kids” who died at Sandy Hook three months ago, the president said. “Shame on us if we’ve forgotten.”The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting primed an issue normally left out of the national spotlight. The shooting was the second deadliest school shooting in American history, just behind the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. The number of casualties in the Sandy Hook shooting nearly doubled that of the Columbine High School massacre. And unlike those shootings, the victims of Sandy Hook weren’t young adults or teenagers: The children were all first graders.
Recently, the Senate Judiciary Committee has passed four gun control measures. The committee approved along party lines — with all eight Republicans voting no and all 10 Democrats voting yes — a bill that would extend background checks to private gun sales. The Obama administration has estimated that many as 40 percent of gun sales go unscreened under current law — mostly sales between private individuals. Also passed was a bill that would increase grant money for school security and that would draw from the Justice and Education Departments to form a task force on the subject. This bill has enjoyed bipartisan support.
There is no reason why the Sandy Hook shooting could not have happened in Rhode Island. Obviously, such a massacre is terrible wherever it happens, but it should put us on our guard as a state when a tragedy like this strikes so close to home. New England is not notorious for gun violence, and yet 27 people were killed in Connecticut, mostly children, and the entire community of Newtown lies in tatters. As neighbors, we have the responsibility to act. While the national debate over gun control rages, Rhode Island must take the chance to become a leader in preventing gun crime.