LatinaLista — You would think that city mayors are busy enough than to have to caravan to Washington DC to plead for a cause that should be every politician’s top priority — keeping our cities safe.
Yet, that’s what happened yesterday when representatives from the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, along with, 50 Americans from across the country, whose lives have been impacted by gun violence, traveled to Washington to urge a Senate Judiciary subcommittee to support the Fix Gun Checks Act (H.R. 1781 / S. 436).
Basically, the Fix Gun Checks Act is a no-brainer — reform the national background check system for gun purchases to prevent dangerous people from obtaining firearms.
One would think it’s a policy already in place but a report released by the mayors’ organization titled Fatal Gaps: How Missing Records in the Federal Background Check System Put Guns in the Hands of Killers tells us that such a common sense policy is far from a reality in our nation.
As a result, drug users, emotionally impaired people, delinquent juveniles, people with criminal records, etc. have no trouble getting their hands on a gun — and doing untold damage to families and communities.
One of the members of the caravan to DC was a woman named Diana Rodriguez. In 2006, her 18-year-old daughter Samantha was killed in the Bronx section of New York by a shower of bullets — on Mother’s Day.
Samantha was only a few weeks away from attending her high school prom and graduating. Her mother had her buried in her prom dress. To this day, Samantha’s mother can’t talk about her daughter without choking up with sadness and anger — anger that her daughter’s killers were able to possess guns and kill at will.
Unfortunately, for many Latino families, Samantha’s story is all too common. A young life cut too short by either being at the wrong place or hanging out with the wrong people at the wrong time or being in places that shouldn’t be gun ranges like front yards or living rooms or bedrooms or the backseat of cars or school yards or street corners…the list goes on.
So, the idea that some members of Congress have to be convinced that not everyone deserves the privilege of owning a gun defies logic.
One would think after hearing the stories of the family members who have lost their children, sisters and brothers to gun violence that Congress would be on board.
Unfortunately, there are stronger forces at work on The Hill than empathizing with the heart-wrenching stories of those Americans who don’t want to see a repeat of their heartache and trauma impact other American families.
During the hearings, one congressman alluded to those stronger forces by citing his concern that such a requirement would infringe upon Second Amendment rights.
It’s a sentiment better coming from a gun advocate than someone who’s been entrusted to create laws and policies to keep us all safe.
To think, that the right to carry arms — regardless of a person’s mental condition or criminal history — takes precedence over the well-being and safety of our children, our families and our communities is as sure a sign as ever that, as a society, we are losing our grasp on reality or worse, we’re selling our souls to the devil.
(Editor’s note: Latina Lista has accepted participation in the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters’ mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the US media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.)