On April 20, 1999, at 11:19 am Colorado time, two high school students, armed with two 9mm firearms, two 12-gauge shotguns, a Hi-Point 995 Carbine with thirteen 10-round magazines and a Savage-Springfield 67H pump-action shotgun, walked into their school and began mercilessly hunting and shooting students and staff. 49 minutes later, after murdering 12 innocent students and one teacher and injuring an additional 21 people (20 students and one teacher), they shot themselves to death. At the time, it was a shocking, unprecedented act. The Columbine massacre was—by far—the most devastating mass school shooting in America at the time. The tragedy seemed to galvanize Americans in their collective outrage and grief. Surely as a society we would make sure this never happened again.
But the sad truth is that Columbine was just the beginning. What could have been—should have been—an isolated act became a blueprint for future school shooters. After decades of ever-intensifying massacres, we have collected reams of data and we know how to solve this. 71% of Americans want stricter gun laws. And yet gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children in the United States. It’s a tragedy of inaction.
As the years pass, Republicans have increasingly refused to take even the smallest steps toward protecting our children. They oppose proposals for expanded background checks and red flag laws that would allow for guns to be temporarily confiscated from individuals deemed a danger to themselves or others. They refuse to re-enact the assault weapons ban and the ban on large capacity magazines, which worked to reduce violence and death, according to ever-increasing evidence. They support measures like "concealed carry reciprocity," which would allow individuals with concealed carry permits to carry their firearms in any state, no matter the strength of that state’s gun laws. Aren’t Republicans supposed to be the party of “state’s rights?”
Since Columbine, according to this Mother Jones database, there have been one hundred and twenty more mass shootings in American schools. In the wake of Sandy Hook, the current representative for NJ CD7, Tom Kean stalled Republican votes and then voted against an emergency bill, which would have created a new electronic system for instant background checks and mandated background checks for private gun sales in New Jersey.
According to this article in the Washington Post there have been three-hundred and seventy-seven mass shootings in schools.
There have been 377 school shootings since 1999, according to Post data
One dot represents 20 children exposed to gun violence.
Children have a right to be safe in their homes and in their schools. But it seems we have become a country that accepts mass murder as a consequence of “freedom.” We know how to stop this madness. If only Republicans would prioritize second graders over the second amendment.
Congressman Tom Kean, what are you doing to protect our children from gun violence?
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