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If Not Now, When?


10/3/2017

By the Joyce Foundation 

Our hearts go out to the families affected by the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, the first responders, and to the wider Las Vegas community. 

We are told that the immediate aftermath of this terrible event is not the time to talk about gun laws in America. It is inappropriate to mention gun violence prevention policy while families are grieving and victims of the Las Vegas shooting lie critically wounded in area hospitals. We may offer “thoughts and prayers,” but we dare not whisper “too many guns.” So we are told. 

This could not be more mistaken. Now is exactly the time to talk about preventing gun violence, as we are forced to look in the mirror – once again -- and left to wonder what kind of society we are to allow this killing to go on at a pace far surpassing all other industrialized nations. 
 
The headline of today’s Chicago Sun-Times editorial was eloquently blunt:
“If we continue to do nothing, our tears are a fraud.” 

It is also the right time to talk about preventing gun violence when a family loses a son or daughter to another senseless killing on the streets of Chicago, which has already surpassed 500 homicides this year. 

We tend to talk about mass shootings and urban gun violence as if they are separate and unrelated challenges. They are not. They share a common origin: easy access to guns and permissive gun laws. 

There is no single solution to the nation’s gun violence epidemic. But there can be no doubt that stronger gun laws need to be a big part of the solution. The proliferation of guns in America -- whether illegally trafficked handguns or legally purchased semi-automatic assault rifles converted to automatic weapons of war – is killing us. 

That is something we need to talk about. Now.