The Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C. this week once again raises the question of stricter gun control in the United States. The drive this past spring for stricter limits fell short in Washington. The issue had mostly faded on the political stage over the summer. Now another incident caused reason for concern once again among members of Congress. Rep. Mike Thompson told CNN that, “Congress needs to act.” Sen. Jay Rockefeller said, “When will enough be enough?” Most people agree that these repeated incidents demand our attention. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence argued this shooting was one more example of the failure of Washington to address the issue. Sen. Joe Manchin is still seeking the five votes needed to pass the expanded background check measure that failed last spring. Rep. Steny Hoyer believes the Navy Yard shooting will revive the debate, but argued outside groups opposed to any new restrictions make it unlikely that Congress will enact any new laws. All this news emphasizes the stalemate happening in our country on this issue. Sen. Manchin is at least hopeful that the mental health component obvious in the shooter, Aaron Alexis, could help nudge gun violence legislation forward.
Our province’s corporate statement against gun violence states that we want to require background checks on all gun purchases. The most recent polling, however, indicates just over half of Americans nationwide think gun control laws should be stricter. According to a CBS/New York Times Poll from early June, 51% of Americans favor stricter regulations, while 47% prefer laws are kept as they are or become less strict. So, as you can see, we have a challenge before us to persuade about half the people towards peaceful resolutions. Our province’s volunteer coordinator, Tim Deveney, found a website that emphasizes beating swords into ploughshares called “Raw Tools.” This group melts down guns and forms the metal into garden tools. They also share the stories about where the guns came from and the good purposes the newly formed tools are accomplishing. I encourage all of you to check out this website to boost your sense of hope in humanity.